Emily Keefe is an undergraduate studying Education, Mathematics and Leadership Studies in the United States. She is currently in London, interning at the Tower Hamlets Education Business Partnership (THEBP). Here are her reflections on taking part in some Number Partners sessions.
Through the THEBP Number Partners programme, young people and volunteers engage in weekly sessions aimed to improve the pupils’ maths skills. Last week, I attended my first Number Partners session. Shadowing my colleague Avanti, I observed the great group dynamic and positive aura of these 30-minute lunchtime sessions. But, what reigned as an unforgettable epiphany was the undeniably positive effect of group-learning.
During the session, Avanti, myself, and two pupils played a maths-related card game. Although the game was inherently competitive, I found that the pupils’ goal was not to win. Instead, they helped one another in scoring points. In fact, they did so much as to disregard the rule of game in order to help each other understand the numbers and improve their scores. Of course, the students had no idea of their rule-breaking actions. They just chugged along, focusing on the maths of the situation.
Learning sprouts in the watering of group-work. Teachers, tutors, and volunteers need not fear the chaos affiliated with group work. Instead, group work must be embraced as a method of teaching and encouraging one another.
I look forward to my next session. The children are wonderful.