Tuesday, 22 March 2011

(g^2)^7 - how not to be a maths teacher on camera.

"Turn Your Talent to Teaching"- but make sure they bloody camera-man doesn't catch you writing the wrong answers on the board.

The UK Government, once again wasting our money, is advertising for teachers. Maths teachers. Just a shame the editors included this bit in the still above.[1] Perhaps those useless maths classes at school weren't so useless. At least if you're in media/advertising.

The video, while it's still around (the `still' is from around 19s):
Teacher: What I want you do now is we're[2] going to look at how we're going to solve this equation here.[(g2)7=g? appears on the board as a problem]

Teacher's voiceover: If it's an early lesson and I need to get them started, [we see the kids playing bingo] I try different ways to clear the cobwebs out. [teacher writes g2×g7 on the board]

Teacher: This one, is just do[2] the highest common factor, so what's the highest common factor of 80 and 60.

Kids: <mumbles of 'twenty'>

Teacher: Do'ya[2] think it's twenty? Twenty, yeah?

One Kid: Bingo!

Other kids: <cheers>

Voiceover: Turn your talent to teaching. Visit teach.gov.uk

The Daily Mail appears to have been the first paper out with this 'mistake' being spotted by some 15yr old spotty oik[3] claiming they're showing the wrong answer.

Of course, that segment could quite probably have lasted a couple of minutes in the classroom there, with the teacher pointing out why it's not the right solution, but to include it in the final advert where it could be misinterpreted? Laziness on the behalf of the advertisers.

Of course, the DM's on a rant about how this 'wrong' answer shows declining standards in our schools. I'm more put out by the standard of spoken English by the teacher[2].

Mr. Coombs is praised highly for his observation of course. From the DM article:
Adam Williams, principal of John Cabot Academy which Chris attends, praised the schoolboy's attention to detail.
Aren't you simply looking forward him being one of your colleagues a few years hence? No big-headedness of course, just a mention in a newspaper article.
He said: 'It is great to think that Chris showed that degree of observation and understanding of maths to spot the apparent error in the advert.'
I learnt about indices in the first year of secondary school (12 yrs old) - just when are they teaching them these days? A-levels?

[1] For those who can't spot it, (g2)7, is g2×g2×g2×g2×g2×g2×g2 which is g14. Not g2×g7 which is g9. And Wrong™

[2] Probably just as well she's not teaching English.

[3] Well - Chris Coombs doesn't look too spotty from the DM photo.

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