Ambitious mathematics: Ratios, decimals, fractions and time for Ta’ovala:
A challenging pedagogy for deeper thinking

Introduction/Whakataki

Deputy Principal, Bronwyn Jones, explains the importance of the students’ identities as mathematicians. The DMIC professional development builds teacher capability to design and sequence maths lessons to ensure sufficiency of opportunity to learn.

The focus is on their understanding and deep learning as they grapple with increasingly challenging maths problems.

The students should be supported each step of the way in their deeper learning. They are supported by the communication and participation skills they have been explicitly taught. They are supported through the respect they learn to give and receive in their problem solving conversations. Because of the support, the students are deeply engaged and they take on the challenge. They learn to take risks. Each child has access to peer support. It may take several days, but the struggles, although challenging, will be productive.

Principal, Stan Whata, highlights the value of the DMIC pedagogy, and reflects on the importance of how clearly the students can articulate their thinking.

Because of the priority given to building the students’ communication, participation and collaborative problem solving behaviours, the Koru aspiration is that the DMIC approach to  learning becomes ‘the way we do things around here’. In 2018, the Education Review Office noted that at Koru School ‘Year 8 achievement is noticeably higher than other year levels, indicating the positive difference the school makes for learners who stay at the school for at least four years’.

The Koru School leaders reflect on the implications for wider shifts of the use of a mixed ability learning approach that works for both low and high achievers. For students taught by proficient DMIC teachers, the new learning behaviours change the ways in which students engage across the curriculum.