One Size Fits All?

Have you ever stood in front of the revision guides in WHSmith’s or scrolled through the Amazon pages and been at a loss as to what to pick? 

I remember when I was doing my GCSE’s and I struggled with aspects of maths, I just couldn’t make it stick. I asked my parents if I could get some revision guides, which I thought would solve all my issues. We went to town and then the dilemma started, what paper was I sitting? Which exam board was it? The content of all the books looked the same, so I chose the one I liked the colour of…it was red, in case you are interested.

I remember thinking it was going to solve all my maths problems and my maths homework was going to be a walk in the park now I had this holy grail. Oh how wrong I was. The guide was very dry, had limited colour and no space to write in. It gave me steps to follow, but, I wasn’t sure what area of maths my questions were linked to so finding help in the book was hard. My master plan hadn’t worked, I was still confused! I still didn’t know what to do and I still had a homework deadline. The guide book was closed, never to be reopened again, it sat on the shelf and gathered dust.

Creating your own notes can be hugely beneficial to the learning process, it provides what you need rather that what you are told you need.

I spent a few more weeks being confused, before my school started lunchtime and after school drop in sessions for GCSE classes. Here I found my holy grail, a teacher who listened to what confused me and explained what I needed them too. Now, I know that they took me back to my Key Stage 3 maths and cleared up a misconception, to allow me to progress on my maths journey. If that teacher had given me a resource with Key Stage 3 on the front I would have been horrified! Instead, they helped me to create my own set of revision notes, in a way that worked for me. There was plenty of space and colour and the maths that wasn’t GCSE content was included. This became my holy grail, this became the method I used to prepare for everything

Revision guides and off the shelf resources certainly have their place, some children thrive with them, where others find they have penned them into a hole. Exactly where we are in our learning is exactly where we should be. This means that picking up a book with an aged based title makes us think we are behind, we are stupid, we are never going to get to where we want to be! This is why I do what I do. I have been the person that the guide books didn’t work for, I have been the student afraid that I was going to have to change classes halfway through the year. I have been the student that feared failing. Being able to make a difference to a learning journey is so rewarding. Knowing that I can create and deliver resources in a way that is entirely suited to a student feeling anxious about maths is the highlight of my job. The only thing that tops is, is that moment, the moment where the transformation becomes visible and my students start to believe that they can do it. That inner mathematician has been released and they have the confidence to try the next step.

Creating mindset resources for Maths Anxiety: Conquering Numbers-Guiding parents of maths anxious children over the last few weeks has been a wonderful experience, I love starting that mindset transformation with my students and being able to share how to do that with parents to support their children has been amazing. The key to releasing that inner mathematician is creating the mindset to allow it to happen.

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