# Teachers: Johnny Depp’s Doggies make ideal maths teaching stuff

Sometimes the TV news brings great teaching opportunities.

Like Johnny Depp’s lack of obedience to Australia’s quarantine laws.

So, what have WE done?

We’ve created a maths worksheet that includes a problem or two about Johnny’s doggies. Yes, maths questions about something really topical, really funny, and really appealing to the very students you teach.

And that’s only ONE topic covered. There are heaps more!

Like the national Girl Guides’ Biscuit day fundraiser. And the Hamish Blake bikeride through some of Italy’s mountains, and Roger Federer being beaten by Aussie tennis star Nick Kyrgios.

Why NOT let kids see how maths works in everyday life?

# Maths for Muddled Minds, Perhaps?

Not all maths problems are actually maths problems (er, if you know what I mean!).

Take, for example, the problem of house insurance.

This morning I rang our insurance company to check on the following:

“Are our solar panels on our roof covered by insurance?”

The English language does funny things to our brains. Any literal translation of the above question would have to result in useless solar panels. Because they’re USELESS if they’re covered.

But the term “covered” doesn’t mean “covered”! It means “covered”, doesn’t it? Yes, it does.

Now, you and I know EXACTLY what it means.

But pity the poor primary school student who is struggling with literacy AND maths, and can’t interpret this problem.

What hope does he/she have?

That’s why WE do what WE do. Worded maths problems are an essential part of maths understanding and development.

Think about it. But not too long!

Better that you DO something about it! NOW! It can be lots of FUN!

# Teachers, Petrol and Maths

Petrol prices go up. We whinge and moan.

Petrol prices go down (as at present!). We whinge and moan.

What gives?

Sure, the petrol price fluctuations occur for different reasons.

Cause and effect, maybe. Or supply and demand, maybe. Or greed, maybe.

But the price? Well, how do we decide whether it’s justified, or not?

Should we rush to the media, savaging the petroleum industry for its price rises as each long weekend approaches?

Or should we rush to the media, having been made suddenly aware that the world’s petroleum industry is falling through the floor, as may very well the world’s economy?

How do we respond and decide whether there’s real trouble afoot?

Maths, maths, maths.

Not just doing sums, but actually understanding that the sums are put together from some sort of understanding of the context in which figures can be interpreted.

And that takes teaching. That takes training. That takes “maths comprehension”.

That takes Education, with a capital E. And it takes genuine LEARNING.

Teachers have a huge job. Maybe a little less “how to wipe your nose”, and a little more gutsy maths interpretation stuff would be a great thing.

Does today’s school curriculum deliver on those grounds? At your school? In your country?

Well? What’s your take on it all?

# Rote Learning — The old way, or the NEW way? A Mentor, please!

These days in schools, it’s cool to be cool.

It’s GREAT to be up with the latest IT, the software that promises so much.

But, DOES IT DELIVER?

So many valuable educational dollars spent on so much fantastic-sounding technology.

So many valuable educational dollars spent on the promise of software that will deliver great outcomes.

So few teachers who are in a position to capitalise on all this “promise” that surrounds them.

So, what is a school administrator to do?

Look good? Appear progressive with government and with peers?

Or SLOW DOWN, and bring along the teachers in an orderly, sensible, encouraging manner?

How about, then we all slow down, take a well-earned, much-needed educational “deep breath”, so that some of the proven teaching and learning methods of the past aren’t “lost” in the “promise” of the new, state-of-the-art technologies and hardware that at the moment seem largely a diversion, rather than a valuable teaching tool.

The old ways, like rote learning. Getting number facts and functional vocab into the long term memory of students.

Like, “automatic response” development, such as the teachers of old used to learn their tables, their spelling, their — lots!

And, how about we encourage each and every teacher to find their own teaching mentor — someone whom they trust, respect, “worship” and can easily learn from as they seek to improve their own teaching performance.