The Trouble with Maths
A Practical Guide to Helping Learners with Numeracy Difficulties, 2nd Edition
By Steve Chinn
Routledge – 2012 – 174 pages
Routledge – 2012 – 174 pages
Now in a second edition, the award-winning The Trouble with Maths offers important insights into the often confusing world of numeracy. By looking at learning difficulties in maths from several perspectives, including the language of mathematics, thinking styles and the demands of individual topics, this book offers a complete overview of the most common problems associated with mathematics teaching and learning. It draws on tried-and-tested methods based on research and the author’s many years of classroom experience to provide an authoritative yet highly accessible one-stop classroom resource.
Combining advice, guidance and practical activities, this user-friendly guide will enable you to:
With useful features such as checklists for the evaluation of books, an outline for setting up an inclusive Maths Department policy and a brand new chapter on materials, manipulatives and communication, this book will equip you with the essential skills to tackle your pupils’ maths difficulties and improve standards. This book will be useful for all teachers, classroom assistants, learning support assistants and parents who have pupils who underachieve with maths.
Spot and solve pupils' maths problems with More Trouble with Maths, the follow-up book to The Trouble with Maths.
What are they?
The books are written by the author, researcher and former teacher Steve Chinn. They are guides to identifying and diagnosing mathematical difficulties, including dyscalculia and mathematical anxiety, and offer practical advice for helping learners with numeracy difficulties.
Are they any good?
The issue I always have with academic research, no matter how credible its findings, is that the recommendations are very rarely accompanied by practical resources and ideas that will make an immediate difference in the classroom. I am delighted to say that these two books do exactly that.
In More Trouble with Maths, Chinn provides research evidence and tests to photocopy for identifying crucial mathematical difficulties that are prevalent in schools. Amid the coverage on conditions such as dyscalculia, there are also fascinating sections about learners' struggles with estimation and the crucial impact on short-term memory.
All these research findings are complemented nicely by The Trouble with Maths, where the focus is very much on practical solutions and strategies. My favourite part is the final section on fractions - a notoriously problematic topic for many pupils. The author pulls apart common approaches to teaching fractions, explaining clearly the misconceptions and difficulties to which they may lead. He then offers an alternative approach, including addressing multiplying fractions through paper folding.
I found these two books fascinating reading, but more importantly I know that they will have a long-term, positive effect on my teaching and my understanding of the difficulties many learners face with mathematics.
Craig Barton is an advanced skills teacher at Thornleigh Salesian College, Bolton. He is the creator of www.mrbartonmaths.com and TES subject adviser for secondary maths. He can be found on Twitter at @TESMaths.
List of illustrations Foreword 1. Introduction: learning difficulties in maths and dyscalculia 2. Factors that affect learning 3. What the curriculum asks pupils to do and where difficulties may occur 4. Thinking style and mathematics 5. Developmental perspectives 6. The vocabulary and language of maths 7. Anxiety and attributions 8. The inconsistencies of maths 9. Manipulatives and materials: multisensory learning 10. The nasties…long division and fractions Appendix 1. Further reading Appendix 2. Checklists and resources Appendix 3. ‘Jog your memory cards’ for multiplication facts Appendix 4. Setting a maths department policy Notes Index
Steve Chinn is an independent international lecturer, writer and researcher. He spent twenty-four years as head teacher of three specialist schools and was a mainstream teacher for fourteen years. www.stevechinn.co.uk