PYP Attitudes and Mathematics

Student Led Conference provides opportunities for student reflection and goal setting in relation to all areas of learning. This year, in my year 3 classroom, I used the PYP attitudes to provide a backdrop for this type of self-assessment; specifically in relation to Mathematics.

Phase One: Connection
Initially, students were given a chance to reflect on the attitudes and how they relate to Mathematics. As a focus question, students were asked:
“What would these attitudes look like in a maths lesson?”
Discussion was rich and varied. Student comments included the following:
·       If you’re enthusiastic about maths, you can’t wait to start working on a problem
·       Curiosity means asking questions and going deeper
·       Commitment looks like sticking with difficult problems and not going straight to you for help
·       Some of the attitudes are connected. Like, if you’re confident in maths, you’re going to be enthusiastic about it
Interestingly, some students had questions that others answered. For example:
Student A: “I don’t think empathy is really relevant in maths. I mean, how can you show empathy?”
Student B: “Actually, I think I can show empathy by helping others who don’t get it.”
This discussion really helped students to make connections beyond playground examples of the attitudes. Often students in my class explain the attitudes as play based intentions or more generally in relation to their learning. For example, “I show integrity by being honest about my behaviour.”

 Phase Two: Self-assessment
Following initial discussions, students were asked to consider an attitude they felt they have consistently demonstrated in relation to mathematics learning. At first hesitant, students became more vocal as individuals shared their reflections. Students were encouraged to provide examples and evidence of their attitudes. Examples included:

·       I have always shown independence because I like working on tough problems by myself
·       I am confident at maths
·       I cooperate during group tasks

Students recorded their attitudinal strengths and this led naturally into consideration of areas for improvement. Students were asked to identify an attitude they would need to more consistently demonstrate during maths lessons as well as describe what this would look like during the lesson.

Examples of most attitudes were represented and included:
supporting others in their different approaches and strategies
working on fluency at home so I can be more confident at school
talk positively about my maths abilities
setting and achieving goals
trying to solve problems in more than one way
working more productively in groups and listening to others’ ideas
working with my head down for the whole lesson even when problems are difficult
helping others to understand when they don’t

Phase Three: Evaluation
As a one-off exercise, this series of experiences would have had little long term benefit. With that in mind, we have revisited these goals throughout the year. My lesson structure is mostly as follows:

Warm up

Presentation of task

Attitudinal goal revisiting
What is your goal? What will that look like during THIS task?
Students attempt task

Student sharing

Consolidating tasks


Students were able to confidently explain their goals and attitudes to parents during Student Led Conference. I have noticed improved attitudinal change in the cohort generally and in particular with some students. Other benefits have included improved understanding about the attitudes in relation to mathematics for both the students and teacher. Students reported that it was an important process in helping to improve their learning.

Kristie Gibson

Head of Year 3 (Curriculum)

Australian International School Singapore


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