So, we have been reflecting on girls and maths lately.
And for the record, we often reflect on how we can make things better for boys too!
We are all about ensuring children leave primary school fluent and confident with number because of those who do not, only 14% achieve a Grade 4+ in maths at GCSE. We need to be really concerned about this.
It is recognised, compared to boys, that girls lack confidence in maths, they do not see it as valuable and statistically, they are less likely to pursue subjects and careers in maths. This is more related to confidence than competence. This point is really important.
We currently have a huge cohort of girls who have entered secondary school without the numeracy skills required and this post pandemic cohort are lacking even more confidence at this pivotal point in their journey.
When helping students improve their skills in maths, it is essential they have the basic background knowledge. Cognitive science tells us this. Obvious, but so often not addressed. How are we finding out if your students have the background knowledge they need? How are we assessing and responding?
For girls in particular, we must also consider how we can inspire and build confidence in maths. This is essential, as it is the missing link for many competent girls.
We must be attentive to the environment and to the engagement and emotion of girls in maths. Consider strategies to help build their confidence. For example, cold calling may help your girls take part in your lessons and build confidence. Cold calling shows them you care about their response and in turn, your response can inspire and motivate. Maybe we should call it ‘warm calling’?!
However, you are the expert in your classroom…you have a lot of hidden genius! Just remember to consider girls, keep confidence and attitude to maths at the forefront of your mind as you plan and deliver your lessons.
And boys, please don’t worry, you won’t be missing out!