, Volume 83, Issue 2, pp 163-180

Learning mathematics—letting the pupils have their say

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Abstract

Pupil voice is an emerging force for change and improvement in many UK schools, but what is not fully understood is how best to access pupil voice within the specific context of secondary mathematics departments. This paper presents a research project designed to use pupils as co-researchers in increasing knowledge about how to improve learning in mathematics. Pupils within the school were selected and trained as “Ambassadors” to understand and disseminate innovative ways of learning mathematics into their school environment and to act to allow the voice of all the pupils in their year group to be heard. The project was intended both to raise the pupils’ awareness of how learning mathematics could be different and to enable them to voice their newly informed opinions about how best they learned mathematics. The pupils’ current feelings about the way that they were taught mathematics were explored, but the focus of the project was on enabling the pupils to make informed decisions about how they felt their learning could be improved. The pupils’ awareness of different ways of learning mathematics was raised by introducing them to alternative teaching approaches. The data generated were initially analysed by the pupils themselves in order to inform their teachers about their views and subsequently constant comparison analysis resulted in the outcomes reported here. The outcomes indicate that the students could have an important role in enabling schools to develop their teaching and improve their pupils’ mathematical learning when that voice is both informed and authorised.