Perhaps no other school subject commands awe quite like mathematics. ‘Awe’ is an apt word, given that maths is both respected and feared in equal measure.
Mathematics possesses the power to inspire people with a profound sense of intelligence, or a crushing sense of defeat. It can be as rewarding as it can be punishing. In maths lessons there is nowhere to hide; you got it right, or you got it wrong, and this brutal clarity excites and terrifies students.
While built on a bedrock of straightforward logic, the deluge of information encoded into every word and step of mathematical reasoning can leave novice minds utterly overwhelmed. If a small piece of this expansive mathematical knowledge is missing, a person may struggle interminably to understand everything that comes next. As a new teacher, you may find yourself working with groups of students who harbour a ‘Swiss cheese’ mathematical understanding.
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