Machine Nation

Irish Politics Forum - Politics Technology Economics in Ireland - A Look Under The Nation's Bonnet


Devilish machinations come to naught --Milton
 
PortalPortal  HomeHome  FAQFAQ  SearchSearch  MemberlistMemberlist  UsergroupsUsergroups  RegisterRegister  Log in  GalleryGallery  MACHINENATION.org  

Share | 
 

 Ireland - An Educational Disaster Area for Maths and Science ?

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
Go to page : 1, 2, 3  Next
AuthorMessage
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Ireland - An Educational Disaster Area for Maths and Science ?   Wed Sep 03, 2008 11:31 pm

http://www.siliconrepublic.com/news/article/11340/randd/poor-science-graduate-quality-playing-havok-with-indigenous-firms

This sad story is that Havok, a successful Irish IT based firm, cannot recruit science and tech graduates of sufficient quality in Ireland and has to move work abroad.

Could this be the reason why ?

http://www.politics.ie/viewtopic.php?f=70&t=40499
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Ireland - An Educational Disaster Area for Maths and Science ?   Wed Sep 03, 2008 11:38 pm

You mean the sentiment of the initial poster? Absolutely not.

There is however a huge problem with the teaching of Maths and Science in Ireland. It is a terrible pity when you consider that we produced Hamilton and Walton, the former having made an incredibly important contribution to mathematics and the latter having won the Nobel Prize for physics.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Ireland - An Educational Disaster Area for Maths and Science ?   Wed Sep 03, 2008 11:46 pm

johnfás wrote:
You mean the sentiment of the initial poster? Absolutely not.

There is however a huge problem with the teaching of Maths and Science in Ireland. It is a terrible pity when you consider that we produced Hamilton and Walton, the former having made an incredibly important contribution to mathematics and the latter having won the Nobel Prize for physics.

There is no question there is ability and raw talent. But the guy from Havok is saying it is being taught out of them. Also that working in the multinational firms isn't sufficiently challenging to young graduates - they get soft in a big system and can't cope in small indigenous firms where everyone does everything ( I can relate to that - we have that problem here )
He also seems to be saying that that wasn't the case up to 2002.

2002 seems to have been a black year for us, when we turned our back on the real economy because of the dot com thing. When things picked up, Government didn't get the message across that the jobs were there. It was the same with tourism. After the foot and mouth scare rural tourism was wiped up and there was no investment in remarketing to get it going again.

What is the problem with maths teaching then ?
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Ireland - An Educational Disaster Area for Maths and Science ?   Wed Sep 03, 2008 11:50 pm

Curriculum, training of teachers, emphasis on business courses by popular consensus, knowledge of career prospects etc.

However, do I think that a 2 minute prayer in a local school, however proposterous, is the downfall of maths and science teaching? No. Seems very simplistic an explanation.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Ireland - An Educational Disaster Area for Maths and Science ?   Wed Sep 03, 2008 11:51 pm

Isn't it to do with a lack of good teacher material - the good people usually feck off to the private sector where they get paid more and don't have to put up with the periods of Colette and Britney nor the love affairs of Damien and Angela and the depressions of Caroline and the other goths.

God, teenagers suck.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Ireland - An Educational Disaster Area for Maths and Science ?   Thu Sep 04, 2008 12:02 am

Don't forget that Damien is also scoring Colette on the side and that Caroline, the goth, has a secret fetish for Jimmy Choo.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Ireland - An Educational Disaster Area for Maths and Science ?   Thu Sep 04, 2008 12:18 am

johnfás wrote:
Curriculum, training of teachers, emphasis on business courses by popular consensus, knowledge of career prospects etc.

However, do I think that a 2 minute prayer in a local school, however proposterous, is the downfall of maths and science teaching? No. Seems very simplistic an explanation.

I don't think the one weird teacher is the problem, but perhaps she is some kind of indicator ?
I struggle to imagine what her concept of science is.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Ireland - An Educational Disaster Area for Maths and Science ?   Thu Sep 04, 2008 2:34 am

cactus flower wrote:
johnfás wrote:
You mean the sentiment of the initial poster? Absolutely not.

There is however a huge problem with the teaching of Maths and Science in Ireland. It is a terrible pity when you consider that we produced Hamilton and Walton, the former having made an incredibly important contribution to mathematics and the latter having won the Nobel Prize for physics.

There is no question there is ability and raw talent. But the guy from Havok is saying it is being taught out of them. Also that working in the multinational firms isn't sufficiently challenging to young graduates - they get soft in a big system and can't cope in small indigenous firms where everyone does everything ( I can relate to that - we have that problem here )
He also seems to be saying that that wasn't the case up to 2002.

2002 seems to have been a black year for us, when we turned our back on the real economy because of the dot com thing. When things picked up, Government didn't get the message across that the jobs were there. It was the same with tourism. After the foot and mouth scare rural tourism was wiped up and there was no investment in remarketing to get it going again.

That was such a bad year to be running an Internet training company - so much so that by the end of it, we weren't. However, I have to say that the sense of relief from most companies was palpable - "thank Jaysus that Internet yoke has gone away - sure we knew it wouldn't last".

IT may be well paid, but as constitutionus on p.ie pointed out, you have to keep educating yourself every year, whereas you can be smart like him and get a job where you don't have to learn anything ever again. Also, corporate IT are very low on the prestige ladder.

As for science, don't get me started! If you've the sense to come in out of the rain you don't go into science - piss-poor pay, and even lower down the totem pole than IT. Anything interesting is either contract work or reserved for those with twenty years experience (of poorly paid contract work) - anything decently paid and steady is soul-crushingly dull, unless watching paint mix is your idea of a good time. Very little science is Watson and Crick - 99% of it is Rosalin Franklin.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Ireland - An Educational Disaster Area for Maths and Science ?   Thu Sep 04, 2008 2:46 am

ibis wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
johnfás wrote:
You mean the sentiment of the initial poster? Absolutely not.

There is however a huge problem with the teaching of Maths and Science in Ireland. It is a terrible pity when you consider that we produced Hamilton and Walton, the former having made an incredibly important contribution to mathematics and the latter having won the Nobel Prize for physics.

There is no question there is ability and raw talent. But the guy from Havok is saying it is being taught out of them. Also that working in the multinational firms isn't sufficiently challenging to young graduates - they get soft in a big system and can't cope in small indigenous firms where everyone does everything ( I can relate to that - we have that problem here )
He also seems to be saying that that wasn't the case up to 2002.

2002 seems to have been a black year for us, when we turned our back on the real economy because of the dot com thing. When things picked up, Government didn't get the message across that the jobs were there. It was the same with tourism. After the foot and mouth scare rural tourism was wiped up and there was no investment in remarketing to get it going again.

That was such a bad year to be running an Internet training company - so much so that by the end of it, we weren't. However, I have to say that the sense of relief from most companies was palpable - "thank Jaysus that Internet yoke has gone away - sure we knew it wouldn't last".

IT may be well paid, but as constitutionus on p.ie pointed out, you have to keep educating yourself every year, whereas you can be smart like him and get a job where you don't have to learn anything ever again. Also, corporate IT are very low on the prestige ladder.

As for science, don't get me started! If you've the sense to come in out of the rain you don't go into science - piss-poor pay, and even lower down the totem pole than IT. Anything interesting is either contract work or reserved for those with twenty years experience (of poorly paid contract work) - anything decently paid and steady is soul-crushingly dull, unless watching paint mix is your idea of a good time. Very little science is Watson and Crick - 99% of it is Rosalin Franklin.

The more one looks at it, the worse this FF government's performance appears.

Is it the same everywhere? No one seems to be even interested in science, let alone maths. Hardly any people with an interest in science post on P.ie for example.
Is there anyone in government with a science background ?

Is it seen as the enemy of religion?
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Ireland - An Educational Disaster Area for Maths and Science ?   Thu Sep 04, 2008 10:02 am

On the prayer angle - which may deserve being moved to another thread, there are many reasons why teachers use prayers in class - and most of those reasons have nothing to do with the mass release of souls from purgatory. When I did my H Dip it was suggested that prayers are a good way of settling the class, demarcating the time after which or during which one was late, focusing on the fact that it was now time to get on task, etc.

I always used a prayer at the beginning of first year German classes and not really for religious reasons. We'd start with the Our Father in German, with them repeating it after me line by line and after a few weeks there was a wonderful buzz when they realise they'd learned it off by heart without even trying and didn't need me any more. It was also an opportunity for them to speak the language unselfconsciously - and to speak the language and it does have great class settling characteristics that work with first years but don't with older years, I think. After they'd mastered the Our Father we'd move on to the Hail Mary with a resounding sense of achievement. I've only once had a 'complaint' and I can't remember who from or why, but I simply explained to the parent that the child was not obliged to participate, but could do so if he wished on a purely language learning basis.

Re maths and science, I made the very unfortunate mistake of studying all three sciences and hons maths for my leaving cert. It was, on reflection, one of the most traumatic experiences of my life. The quality of the teaching in all three four subjects was appalling, because there was no real teaching, simply an assumption that those who 'got it' were normal and those who didn't, weren't and that was across the board. And I say that as someone who believes that students should take far more responsibility for their own learning than they do, not as someone who believes it's the teacher's job to teach and the students job to catch the splatters on their own educational canvas. The sense of failure, of lack of achievement was profound, and totally at odds with anything else I've ever experienced in my educational career.

I've always, always believed that the root of education lies in its Latin root - educare, to draw out, but it seems that that philosophy wasn't applied in my day to maths and science and still isn't. Students vote with their feet and if JC science is tedious there is no way they'll take it for leaving cert, never mind into college.

Our chemistry teacher did allow us to do experiments in every double class and to mess up and do it better the next time -I could stand over my chemistry lab copy in a way I couldn't over my physics and biology -and I may have done one or two in physics. Everything was demonstrated in biology by a teacher who spent the day dictating (very good) notes from an overhead projector. Did we touch a frog or a heart or do anything more than look at the cells in his onion skin through a microscope? Not a bit of it.

There are a variety of learning styles - visual, auditory and kinaesthetic, and I fit in, as a rule to the rather small group of auditory learners. However, I could really, really have done with something concrete or physical to help me make sense of the maths and physics - give me something to take apart and put together and I'll understand it. Ironically when I went teaching, I was the one who could fix anything with the photocopying-risograph stuff because I figured out how it worked and got the fixer guys to let me do it rather than watch them when they were in.

I got As in several leaving cert subjects - but I almost failed maths. I'm not stupid, but was certainly a victim of a system of science and maths teaching that doesn't teach by engagement but by osmosis. The subjects I could engage in and make my own, I did well in and those where I observed and witnessed, I did poorly in. The effect of the level of engagement in those subjects was evident in the grades I got - B in Chemistry, C in Physics and D3 in maths. But if I'd done French and History instead of maths and physics, I'd have scored another two As and I'm wildly resentful that I didn't and had such awful teaching for so long. How does a person get As in three subjects, an almost A in Irish and then almost fail maths? I don't think it's about my levels of innate ability or personal tendencies towards arts versus sciences.

When I was teaching, my room was divided from a maths and physics teacher by a prefab partition. While we played bingo, hangman, made posters advertising classroom instructions, did Christmas karaoke in German and, of course said our prayers, the day in, day out chalk and talk of the guy next door boomed through the plasterboard. And we wonder why maths failure rates and the level of disengagement with the subject are so high? We have to promote learning by doing rather than learning by being shown and for as long as teachers remain umbilically connected to their chalk and talk model, there will be no improvement, no matter how much money the government decides to input for physical or educational resources.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Ireland - An Educational Disaster Area for Maths and Science ?   Thu Sep 04, 2008 11:25 am

Quote :
The quality of the teaching in all three four subjects was appalling, because there was no real teaching, simply an assumption that those who 'got it' were normal and those who didn't, weren't and that was across the board. And I say that as someone who believes that students should take far more responsibility for their own learning than they do, not as someone who believes it's the teacher's job to teach and the students job to catch the splatters on their own educational canvas. The sense of failure, of lack of achievement was profound, and totally at odds with anything else I've ever experienced in my educational career.

That was my experience too. The other problem with maths is that one concept builds on the next and if a student misses anything through absence and absence of mind, there is no recovery. A gap doesn't matter that much in say history or science, but is serious in maths.

Also, negative marking, in which one slip in calculation resulted in a Nada. In exams marks are given for methodology but that didn't happen in the classroom. I came away from school with an allergy to numbers. I use them all the time now that I need to, but it could have been a positive rather than negative experience.

When you look at all the people who do Sudoku, you have to think that maths is essentially a game and that we could all enjoy playing it.





If you look at all the
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Ireland - An Educational Disaster Area for Maths and Science ?   Thu Sep 04, 2008 12:37 pm

I would be interested to know what percentage of primary school teachers or secondary school maths teachers who qualified in the last 5 years got an A in honours maths themselves.

I think that maths and physics are very difficult to teach and even more difficult to learn if your teacher isn't up to scratch.

It is certainly a systemic fault. If the teachers are not up to it then there is no point in hounding them about it. They themselves are the product of the educational system.

A new grade of teacher, open to all, requiring the candidates to pass new exams and with a higher level of pay conditional on the teacher teaching maths primarily and doing regular re-assessment (for improved teaching methods) might do the trick.

However, teachers have resisted all performance assessment any discriminatory pay for years. It is highly unlikely they will agree to it now. Instead they will insist that the current maths teachers are up to the task if they get more resources or offered some voluntary training.

An alternative might be to set up centres of maths excellence (you gotta talk their language:)) where students could get free evening grinds in honours maths, physics and applied maths from talented wel paid teachers who voluntarily agreed to take on this new job with new standards. It would be a totally different job so it would not be discriminatory. It would be unfair for people in remote areas. However, that would not be a retrograde step because the current reality is that many people currenlty get grinds so the less well off and those in remote areas are suffering an unfair disadvantage as things stand.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Ireland - An Educational Disaster Area for Maths and Science ?   Thu Sep 04, 2008 12:39 pm

Following on from what Zhou says, I don't think it is just a question of good and bad teachers because that cuts across all subject.

There is a need to revolutionise the way maths are taught. If every maths class had a computer for each child, with good teaching software, the school cleaner could get them through their syllabus.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Ireland - An Educational Disaster Area for Maths and Science ?   Thu Sep 04, 2008 12:49 pm

Good posts here. I struggled with Maths all through second-level, particularly at junior cert. It was a constant source of academic pain and I still remember getting 39% in my junior certificate mock exam after putting in countless horrible hours.

In relation to maths, I think the biggest problem is the total absence of any context. I remember asking my maths teacher why we had to learn algebra and she threw me out of the class. Very few maths teachers are willing to spend any time rooting the subject in reality and as a result, many students (even the high performers) have no sense of the role of maths beyond achieving a passing grade. The cirriculum is totally introspective and seems to deliberately avoid looking out beyond the final exam. Teachers should be encouraged to use one class a month explaining the broader context of maths including the kind of jobs for which a good standard of maths is required. Guest speakers should be encouraged to come in three or four times a year to explain the connection between maths and jobs. There is a need to challenge this learning bubble in which students operate throughout their second level years. Third-level colleges should also send around speakers to present on the kind of maths and science courses that are out there now.

Aside from that it is a case of standards, standards, standards. I did agricultural science for my leaving certificate and it undoubtedly had the potential to be the most boring, difficult subject imaginable. However, I was lucky enough to have an absolutely amazing teacher who brought the subject to life and engaged every one of us in a subject that he clearly loved teaching. Maths and science work when they are taught passionately and with a nod to the real world. I cant remember how to factorise but I can still remember cycles of crop rotation.


Last edited by unaligned on Thu Sep 04, 2008 12:50 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling)
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Ireland - An Educational Disaster Area for Maths and Science ?   Thu Sep 04, 2008 1:30 pm

I agree with unaligned and cactus about the use of computers and context. If teachers knew the context and understood software then it wold be much easier to demonstrate the contect using computers. There are myriad ways of explaining context. The science and business community would come up with suggestions for free.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Ireland - An Educational Disaster Area for Maths and Science ?   Thu Sep 04, 2008 2:32 pm

I hope this doesn't cause offence to the women here but I think the problem starts in Primary which has a disproportionate female number and true to stereotypes my own experience is that the science curriculum in primary - which is a lovely subject in my experience - is taught by rote by female teachers who are probably traumatized already having come through an inappropriate system as our example above, Kate P, seemingly has.

What she also says about the 'educare' is significant too - people interested in science and natural at maths are rare enough, getting teachers who have this quality as well as teaching ability and talent must be indeed extremely rare.

I'm aware of the importation of Indian and other science teachers from abroad who are involved in running after-school programmes for families which make science interesting and practical and it is aimed at both teenagers and fathers who are disadvantaged. The funding for this type of programme which could be a pilot for mainstream people is getting cut though - and I'll stop there before I start cursing.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Ireland - An Educational Disaster Area for Maths and Science ?   Thu Sep 04, 2008 9:29 pm

This is a broader issue than just the particular subjects of Maths and Science. What other subject is also subject to much discussion about how poor the standard of its teaching and its learning is? Irish. What do Irish, Maths and Science have in common? They all require the willingness to sit down and work and work and work in order to feel that you`re good at the subject. English, History, Geography don`t require the same level of commitment. If you can follow a basic story or if you`ve basic cop on you`ll get away with a lot in an awful lot of subjects. Not in the science subjects, not in Maths and not in a language with which you are not familiar. The question should not solely be how do we change the teaching in these subject but what can we do to create a learning environment where ambition is admired rather than sneered at and where children themselves want to excel at subjects that require harder work? It`s not a question for schools alone but for society as a whole.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Ireland - An Educational Disaster Area for Maths and Science ?   Thu Sep 04, 2008 9:47 pm

anmajornarthainig wrote:
This is a broader issue than just the particular subjects of Maths and Science. What other subject is also subject to much discussion about how poor the standard of its teaching and its learning is? Irish. What do Irish, Maths and Science have in common? They all require the willingness to sit down and work and work and work in order to feel that you`re good at the subject. English, History, Geography don`t require the same level of commitment. If you can follow a basic story or if you`ve basic cop on you`ll get away with a lot in an awful lot of subjects. Not in the science subjects, not in Maths and not in a language with which you are not familiar. The question should not solely be how do we change the teaching in these subject but what can we do to create a learning environment where ambition is admired rather than sneered at and where children themselves want to excel at subjects that require harder work? It`s not a question for schools alone but for society as a whole.

Isn't this more or less a result of the LC/CAO setup? What you study for LC makes no difference whatsoever as long as you get the points - you'd therefore be an absolute fool to do anything other than to concentrate your effort on the easiest subjects, because the points level for any given course is set flat for everyone (in a very small number of colleges). Contrast A-levels and UCCA, where you need sufficient grades in relevant subjects (and your personal offer often depends on an interview).
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Ireland - An Educational Disaster Area for Maths and Science ?   Thu Sep 04, 2008 9:50 pm

The virtual opting out of certain subjects happens long before Leaving Certificate Level but you`re right about th effect of the current CAO set up on it as well.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Ireland - An Educational Disaster Area for Maths and Science ?   Thu Sep 04, 2008 11:19 pm

I began the process of getting a question raised in the Dáil, today. I happen to be in the posession of a little bit of knowledge, which illustrates that the government have received incorrect, unprofessional and unqualified advice especially in the area of mathematical/computational education and training, since at least 1998.

That should set the cat among the pigeons.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Ireland - An Educational Disaster Area for Maths and Science ?   Fri Sep 05, 2008 12:57 am

TheGeniusOfCork wrote:
I began the process of getting a question raised in the Dáil, today. I happen to be in the posession of a little bit of knowledge, which illustrates that the government have received incorrect, unprofessional and unqualified advice especially in the area of mathematical/computational education and training, since at least 1998.

That should set the cat among the pigeons.

Any hints, Genius? Or are you just trying to tease the pigeons?
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Ireland - An Educational Disaster Area for Maths and Science ?   Fri Sep 05, 2008 3:14 am

Well, ten years ago I wrote to the then Minister for Education suggesting that in ten years the failure rates would go through the roof. Since then I have met with every conceivable obfuscation from the Department of Education, Academia et al. in relation to my attempts to introduce what I now call the Simple Sums program into our schools. I want to know why was my professional advice ignored and my attempts to reform the mathematical educational system deliberately sabotaged by those with a direct responsibility to advise the Minister for Education.

I feel that it is a fair question to ask.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Ireland - An Educational Disaster Area for Maths and Science ?   Fri Sep 05, 2008 3:16 am

And what happened 10 years ago that lead to this sorry state?
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Ireland - An Educational Disaster Area for Maths and Science ?   Fri Sep 05, 2008 3:23 am

cactus flower wrote:
And what happened 10 years ago that lead to this sorry state?

The failure to adopt Vedic maths...I'm guessing GeniusOfCork is moghroth on p.ie?
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Ireland - An Educational Disaster Area for Maths and Science ?   Fri Sep 05, 2008 3:27 am

ibis wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
And what happened 10 years ago that lead to this sorry state?

The failure to adopt Vedic maths...I'm guessing GeniusOfCork is moghroth on p.ie?

Was that an algebraic calculation Ibis ?
Back to top Go down
Sponsored content




PostSubject: Re: Ireland - An Educational Disaster Area for Maths and Science ?   

Back to top Go down
 
Ireland - An Educational Disaster Area for Maths and Science ?
View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 3Go to page : 1, 2, 3  Next
 Similar topics
-
» Rhine Area Sergeants Mess
» How good are you at maths?
» Purchase of equipment for disaster preparedness (MDRRM)-075
» Purchase of two (2) units Search & Rescue Vehicles for Disaster Preparedness
» Iraq tops the world ranked 74 in the educational level

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
Machine Nation  :: Machine Nation :: Science, Technology, Engineering, Computers-
Jump to: