Different students have different reasons for working hard at Mathematics:
‘They want to get good grades.’
‘They enjoy the structured approach of the subject.’
‘They are naturally good at the subject.’
‘People tell them it is an ‘important subject.’
‘It is useful in most jobs.’
These are all valid reasons, but the most success is gained by those who are interested in thinking and who enjoy finding solutions to problems. This is what we are aiming to achieve at ISBerne.
Mathematics in the past was based on the content of Arithmetic, Geometry, Statistics and Algebra. The content of these was always assessed with tests and examinations. Today, this emphasis is still important and good students of Mathematics still need to know the basics; in addition to this, they need to be able to investigate, analyse, generalise, conclude, reflect and communicate. This will enable them to make links with other subjects and the ‘real world’. Mathematics should not be seen as being a separate subject: not only is it a discipline in its own right, but it is also an integral part of other subjects, as diverse as science and art.
As the subject is now more based on skills than content, the nature of assessment has changed. There are now projects, presentations and investigations, all of which supplement tests and examinations. Assessment is criteria based, and this enables students to understand how to improve while providing a clear focus for curriculum planning.
With the small class sizes at the International School of Berne, we are able to meet the needs of all, challenging and assisting students of every ability level to maximise their potential. In addition, the Mathematics Department works in conjunction with the Special Educational Needs Coordinator to provide extra, individualised, help if necessary.