Working together to improve teaching, learning and assessment Leagan Gaeilge
Overview of resources ›› Textbooks

Textbooks tend to be the main resource teachers use in deciding what to teach. Most of the time in classrooms tends to be related to them in some way. Very often they are the only resources to which all students have access during a lesson in addition to the teacher. Most problems for student’s classwork and homework are taken from them.

There is no single textbook which can suit the learning needs of all students. In choosing a textbook, schools need to take into account the abilities, needs and interests of their students, as well as the quality of the book. In using textbooks, teachers should note the extent to which textbooks need to be adapted and augmented by additional material. It is advisable to consult the Teacher Handbooks, T & L Plan, Student’s CD and NCCA Student Resources which help in deciding not only what to teach but how to teach it.

Many textbooks contain excellent ideas; however they are limited by the linear presentation of ideas in print form and need to be adapted. There are many ways to use a textbook and get the best out of it. The following are points teachers should consider:

– Do not be bound by a book’s sequence of content. Content and sequencing should be based on student’s prior knowledge and the teacher’s view of their ability.

-Make use of the activities and tasks provided in the textbook. Adjustments may need to be made so that students have opportunities to gain experience in exploring mathematics. The needs and abilities of students should be taken into account.

– Select suitable problems for classwork and homework. Inform students about the difficulty levels of the problems assigned.

– Provide students with and make use of supplementary materials provided (e.g. T & L Plan, resources from project maths student area, NCCA Student Resources, websites) to enhance teaching and learning.

– Help students develop the concepts, thinking abilities and skills promoted by Project Maths.

– Stress the importance of the learning process as much as the answer.

– Provide opportunities for students to investigate, discuss, make conjectures, communicate their solutions and findings.

– Encourage higher order thinking.

– Provide adequate examples and illustrations to help students understand both the concepts and the skills.

– Select materials that provide students with the opportunity to engage in problem solving.

– Be accurate in using mathematical language and symbols.

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