Every teacher delivers education in their own unique way, this carefully crafted pedagogy has been built through trial and error, observation and experimentation, alongside a deep understanding of the needs of the students in their care. Here at Jacaranda, we love hearing about all the amazing ways you are using Jacaranda resources to help you teach your class, your way – so we decided to get out of the office and into schools to uncover some of these stories!
We kicked off our school visits in Victoria, when we travelled to the Mornington Peninsula to catch up with Mark Barnes, a VCE Mathematics teacher at Peninsula Grammar. Mark told us how the Jacaranda Maths Quest VCE series has supported him to cater to the wide range of abilities in his classroom, improving overall student outcomes and giving them the best chance of success throughout VCE and in the final examination.
Watch Mark’s video below or keep reading to find out how he utilised Jacaranda resources to achieve this:
Catering to the wide range of abilities in the VCE Mathematics classroom
It can be challenging to effectively teach students with the wide range of student abilities we find in most classrooms. In Mark’s words, “[when] teaching Mathematics, you have different levels where students are at”, and the Jacaranda Maths Quest VCE series is “good at fitting in and catering for all of those students”.
Specifically, Mark likes how the topic introductions allow students to get the basic understanding of key concepts; and as students’ progress through the topic and start to answer questions, he says “It takes them through that journey to develop areas where they are challenged in the other end as well”.
“[Maths Quest] is good at fitting in and catering for all of those students”
Catering to all student abilities means supporting those students who need extra help, and enabling the high-achievers or independent learners to be challenged and move ahead at their own pace. Mark says the Jacaranda resources “allows students to take the lead and go a bit further if they need to with developing their skills and pushing themselves and challenging themselves [to get to that] extra level”. Allowing students to move forward independently gives maths teachers like Mark more time to work directly with students who need extra help. Mark explains, “It allows students to sort of drive their own direction a little bit; and that helps me as a teacher to be flexible and cater to the individual needs of those students, to make sure they’re reaching their best outcomes in mathematics.”
Improving student overall outcomes
“Jacaranda products have certainly assisted our students in their learning outcomes in a number of ways”
Mark also makes the most of studyON, Jacaranda’s online tool for exam study, revision and practice, which comes free with the Jacaranda Maths Quest VCE series. Mark describes studyON as “a great asset [for] revising key concepts, but also then linking and following up with questions that are related to that concept to reinforce [student learning]”.
Preparing students for success throughout VCE and the final examination
Mathematics can be a high-pressure VCE subject for both students and teachers alike. To help lessen the load and save time, Mark only uses a classroom resource that he knows he can trust and supports his teaching. “It is reassuring for my teaching, the support that comes with [the resources]” and it helps his students easily understand through the clarity in which it is written, and he can be confident that all required content is being addressed as it is directly linked to all components of the study design.
To help students prepare for the exam, not only is the study design comprehensively covered, but students must be familiar with the examination terminology. This is something Mark really values in the Jacaranda Maths Quest VCE series, “The terminology used within the textbook is quite good and therefore consistent with what they would expect in an exam”. Because the language in the series matches the exam, Mark says, “It gives them the skills of being able to understand how to interpret a question and I think that is really important as well”.