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Govt 'may change criteria' for maths teachers

Posted by SchoolDays Newshound on 08/23/2011. Govt 'may change criteria' for maths teachersTags: Teachers News

The qualifications needed to become a maths teacher in Ireland may be reviewed in the wake of this year's disappointing Leaving Certificate results.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn has instructed the Teaching Council to carry out a study of the number of qualified professionals in the subject to determine whether specific standards are required, the Sunday Business Post reports.

"We need to ensure that there is a maths-related qualification for those teachers to teach maths and I'm putting that out as a possible option," stated Sean Sherlock, the minister of state who is heading up a new task force on maths.

Possible changes could include barring those who do not qualify with maths as part of their third-level degree from teaching the subject.

According to 2010 research by the National Centre for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and Learning at the University of Limerick, 48 per cent of those teaching maths did not study the subject as part of their primary degree.

Last week's Leaving Certificate results revealed over 4,000 candidates failed their maths exams, while just 16 per cent of students sat the higher level paper.

Written by Donal Walsh



(08/28/2011 06:18 PM)

I've graded the mock exams and it's easy to see which teachers are unqualified to teach maths. When the whole class is making the same mistakes on each question, you can clearly see it was taught incorrectly to the class.
It seems ridiculous to me that they would put someone with no maths background in front of a class of students and expect them to learn anything. From someone with a Master's degree in Maths, I know maths is like a foreign language for most people. Would you try to learn Spanish from a teacher that can't speak Spanish herself? You wouldn't pay someone unqualified to teach you something (musical instrument, etc.), so why would schools pay someone unqualified to teach our children???

Aisling Cahill

(08/23/2011 09:47 PM)

I think a qualification is a fantastic idea!
I went to an all-girls school (finished in 1999) and it was not deemed necessary to have a fully qualified Maths teacher for the 700 students in the school.
I was one of the lucky ones. My Dad, who struggled with Maths in school, somehow decided to undertake it as part of his Arts degree. I had a qualified, interested Maths teacher at home and it was only through his "grinds" that my sisters and I managed to do Leaving Cert Maths, me at Honours level.
Naturally, we can't expect everyone to be taught Maths at home, so what on earth do we expect the rest of the kids in this country to do? Maths teaching is a joke in this country, but we're no longer laughing.


(08/26/2011 12:49 PM)

I completely agree with the fact that maths teachers should be qualified to teach the subject. I completed a maths degree in Ireland and then followed a PGCE maths teaching course in England and have found it almost impossible to get a full time job in Ireland. At present I'm teaching A level maths full time in England and the students are gaining excellent results.

Something needs to be done to improve the teaching of maths in our country. Why employ people to teach a subject that they are not confident in themselves???

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