A beautiful and interesting subject worthy of study for its own sake, mathematics is also a practical tool for a better understanding of our world. From day-to-day finances, to predicting the behaviour of large groups of people, from designing bridges to the language of computers, from understanding trials of a new vaccine to working out how environmentally friendly your next car will be, mathematics underpins every aspect of modern life.
We believe all students, whatever their prior experience, can make progress. Further, that it is the sense of achievement in mastering a new concept or solving a difficult problem that is the greatest reward: that building of confidence will lead to a love of maths. We know though that progress comes from challenge and making mistakes, so we actively encourage students to not be frightened of errors. Indeed, we go further, by sharing misconceptions we can all learn collectively.
Learning is predicated on the acquisition of new knowledge. Before being able to apply a skill, students must be able to recover from their memory the pertinent facts. This is as true in maths as any other discipline, so lessons feature regular retrieval practice. This is designed to enable students to achieve fluency in key areas of the curriculum such as arithmetic, recall of geometrical relationships, algebraic processing, and multiplicative reasoning.
Maths is more than rote recall of things like times tables; you need to be able to analyse and reason. Skills that enable you to make choices and avoid being hoodwinked by scammers, retailers, the press, politicians... At Sydenham, students are challenged to justify their thought processes, to evaluate the methods and conclusions of others and to present their arguments coherently. This might be in the form of class discussions, self or peer marking, spot the mistake activities or by contrasting different methods for solving a problem.
At Sydenham School the Mathematics Department’s aim is that all our students become confident, successful mathematicians. By this we mean young people able to use their mathematical knowledge and skills to support their life choices. Whether that be to continue to study the subject for the sheer joy of exploring maths or because they appreciate its usefulness to them as an engineer, entrepreneur, doctor, artist, consumer....
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