Mathematical thinking in schools
This module is designed to help you develop your knowledge and understanding of the teaching of mathematics. It is suitable for any Key Stage, and will broaden your ideas about how people learn and use mathematics. There is no formal examination: assessment is based on tutor-marked assignments and an end-of-module assessment. To complete the module assessment, you'll need to work with a learner or learners who will be pleasantly challenged by secondary school-level mathematics.
What you will study
This module is designed to:
- develop your mathematical thinking
- raise your awareness to some ways in which people learn mathematics
- provide you with experience of different teaching approaches and the learning opportunities they afford
- develop your awareness of, and facility with, ICT in the learning and teaching of mathematics
- develop your knowledge and understanding of some important mathematical ideas.
Successful study of this module should enhance your skills in communicating mathematical ideas clearly and succinctly and explaining mathematical ideas to others
You will learn
The module starts from the assumption that mathematics education is an intrinsically worthwhile enterprise; it is therefore worth striving to understand its processes in order to do it better. The module aims arise from the nature of mathematics education as a process of human interaction, which means that certain aspects of the module can only be engaged with through practice. You will be expected to work on mathematics tasks yourself and consider the process you have worked through in terms of your thinking. From this perspective, the module offers ways of working that contribute to your own mathematical development and, by enhancing your work with other learners, can enrich learning and confidence.
This module may help you to gain membership of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA). For further information, see the IMA website.
This module is intended for anyone aged 18 or over with an interest in the teaching and learning of mathematics. The focus of the mathematical content of the module is around the level of Key Stage 3 but the educational issues that are discussed are relevant for all stages.
Your own knowledge of mathematics should be at least Grade C in GCSE mathematics.
You do need to have a reasonable standard of spoken and written English to study successfully with us. Poor language skills will make study more difficult, and it will take longer. The normal requirements for English language skills are explained on our website.
The module is open to anyone, though it particularly has in mind mathematics teachers, those wishing to become mathematics teachers, teaching assistants, home-school parents and special educational needs coordinators working with learners of mathematics at Key Stage 2 or above.
If you are planning to study further modules in mathematics education, we recommend that you study this module first.
In order to complete the module assessment, you'll need to work with a learner or learners who will be pleasantly challenged by secondary school-level mathematics. It is feasible for friends or family members to act as your learners, but it is preferable if you can work with some secondary age children.
If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.
The study materials are only available online via the module website. There are no printed materials.
You will need
You will need a scanner, digital camera or mobile phone camera – to scan your appendices – if you wish to submit your assignments electronically via our eTMA system.
You will also need a headset with a microphone to make best use of the online tutorials.
A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module. Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.
Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.
A desktop or laptop computer with either:
- Windows 7 or higher
- macOS 10.7 or higher
The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.
To participate in our online discussion area you will need both a microphone and speakers/headphones.
Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students.