This week at my placement at the George Street Normal School in New Zealand, I paid special attention to the planning and delivery of a mathematics lesson on statistics. The lesson focused on bar graphs, and the students were asked to draw a picture of themselves on a small piece of paper and then place it on a life-sized graph of the months of the year corresponding to their birthday month. The students began the lesson by sitting in a circle on the floor, which was a very good teaching strategy because all of the students could see what the teacher was doing and they were all (for the most part) actively engaged in the lesson. They started with a review of what they remember about statistics and what they already know about it and its real-life purposes. After they brainstormed, the teacher provided a summary about statistics so that all of the students could start off on the same foot regardless of their prior knowledge about the subject. I noticed that this is very similar to the format of lessons in America. The lesson was relevant to the students, and having them place photos of themselves on the graph was very clever and engaging.
I noticed that the two most challenging aspects of the lesson were timing and management of the students. When she sent the students to draw the pictures of themselves, they were given five minutes to create the drawing and sit back down on the carpet with it. When she dismissed them, the students erupted into noise and chaos. It took longer than five minutes to get everyone seated and calm again, and once she started calling out the months of the year, the students jumped up to place their photos down and got them all confused. Because of this, the teacher had to dismiss the students for lunch time before getting a chance to finish the lesson and wrap it all up. These observations seem to be very similar to my observations in the states, and I do believe that it is probably the case for teachers around the world.