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Maths provides building blocks to a universal language

ACG School Jakarta places a strong emphasis on bringing mathematics to life for all students, from the earliest Primary level right through to High School.
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ACG School Jakarta places a strong emphasis on bringing mathematics to life for all students

Maths is everywhere, whether we gaze at a painting, hike up a mountain, bake a cake, or listen to music. In fact, without it, the world as we know it wouldn’t exist.

That’s why ACG School Jakarta places such emphasis on bringing mathematics alive for its students, reaching far beyond the rote learning of times tables and endless practising of equations to embrace real-world examples that excite and inspire.

“What I love about mathematics is the simplicity and the complexity of it,” explains Annie Pickering, ACG’s Mathematics Team Leader.

“It is orderly, full of processes, rules and structure, yet there is so much that is surprising that amazes and wows me. Maths is also the world’s only universal language, so its ability to connect us all is endless.”

Annie’s enthusiasm for her subject is infectious, and her expertise is second to none. After thirty years of teaching - from New Zealand to London, Abu Dhabi to Bangkok – she has honed her craft, leading a team that inspires students’ imaginations and ignites their curiosity.

“At ACG, Middle and High School students are given opportunities to engage in their learning, to acquire understanding and explain ideas through a variety of tasks, activities and experiences. Teachers are enthusiastic about mathematics and share this with students by providing interesting, stimulating lessons using various IT platforms and apps, including games. As a result, students are challenged and supported, and links to real-life are made.”

Students advance through positive learning experiences and regular feedback, and mistakes are seen as opportunities for growth.

“Feedback to students is crucial, and we do this well,” Annie confirms. “Formative tasks are supported with written feedback that clearly identifies concepts that are understood and those in need of review. For summative assessments, students receive individual feedback that identifies all concepts assessed, what they are and whether they’ve been understood or not.”

And even though teaching has been online for close to 18 months, day-to-day lesson feedback has continued through pair and small group tasks, breakout rooms, and the submission of work at the end of each lesson.

The results speak for themselves.

“Students at ACG School Jakarta perform to equally high levels as students in similar international schools; our students have consistently achieved above the global averages for Cambridge IGCSE and International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) mathematics courses over the past three years.”

The foundation for this success is firmly laid at Primary level, where mathematics is all about exploration and peer learning, as Year 2 teacher Matt Knox explains.

“If we look, we can see numbers and maths everywhere around us, and this is what we promote. We begin with a question and a provocation, often a picture or a photo. After looking at the provocation, students use different materials (like blocks, dice, counters, pegs, popsicle sticks and number lines) to present their learning. What they create is up to them.”

Matt is constantly surprised by the ideas and solutions students come up with, even from five and six years of age.

“They often present ideas in ways that even the teachers hadn’t thought of!”

‘Share time’ enables students to see what their peers have created before returning to their own workstations to implement the new strategies. Daily learning is solidified through journaling, while mathematics vocabulary is taught, and self-reflection encouraged. Learning is innovative and interactive.

“Our students learn rapidly through personal exploration and from their friends’ ideas, rather than from too much ‘teacher talk’!”

By instilling students with a love of mathematics from an early age, ACG School Jakarta sets them up for success not just during their studies but throughout their lives. For Annie, there could be no greater reward.

She adds, “For me, mathematics is not only a subject, it is a language. It’s fun, serious, mysterious, intriguing, and at times exasperating. I am grateful to be able to help students learn and grow in their knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of mathematics. And most importantly help them develop lifelong learning skills.”

ACG School Jakarta Mathematics Team Leader, Annie Pickering
Teacher Matt Knox with his Year 2 class