If you are in the early stages of using the YuMi Deadly Maths pedagogy, or considering whether to invest in the training, you might wonder what your students will think about this new teaching approach and whether it will be worthwhile. To help answer this question, we would like to share an inspiring story of success from St Ursula’s College Yeppoon in Central Queensland.
Training in YuMi Deadly Maths
Back in 2009, the YuMi Deadly Centre invited St Ursula’s College to participate in the Accelerated Indigenous Mathematics (AIM) project, funded under the Commonwealth Government’s Closing the Gap: Expansion of Intensive Literacy and Numeracy program for Indigenous students (read more about the AIM project here). The college took up the opportunity and sent their Learning Enhancement Coordinator, Tracey Quinnell (pictured), and two Teacher Assistants to the AIM YuMi Deadly Maths professional development workshops, which took place across four years.
Initially, the college trialled a special YuMi Deadly Maths subject for students who were underperforming in maths at the beginning of high school. After only two terms, the students had gained 1.5–2 years in mathematics understandings. This early success led to the subject becoming compulsory for any Year 7 and 8 students experiencing difficulty in maths, as well as being offered as an elective to students in Years 9 and 10. The subject is additional to core mathematics classes at the school
Students who have completed the program have gone on to successfully complete Year 11 and 12 mathematics. An analysis of comments about the program from more than 60 students involved in YuMi Deadly Maths at St Ursula’s College reveals five key factors to success according to the students:
- Start teaching from the students’ current level of mathematics knowledge.
- Use the body → hand → mind sequence to act out all new mathematics concepts.
- Foster a classroom culture where students feel comfortable asking questions without judgement about being right or wrong.
- Use language the students can understand before introducing more formal mathematics language.
- Ensure students have a thorough understanding of one topic before moving on to a new topic.
YuMi Deadly Maths (YDM) contextualises the maths learning to the students’ culture and prior experiences. With the YDM approach, teachers are encouraged to start at the level of the students and build on their existing knowledge. Starting from the students’ level and taking the time to consolidate their understanding improves their confidence and enables them to make faster progress later.
In their own words …
But don’t just take our word for it – hear it from the St Ursula’s students themselves:
“Deadly maths. Best decision I’ve ever made, in my entire life … my grade and knowledge of math (in general) has increased dramatically, more than I thought.”
“I have been in Deadly maths for 3 years continuously since Year 7. Deadly maths is a fun, stress-free program … It helps you get a better understanding about maths starting at a maths level of Grade 5, while learning subjects you go all the way up to a Grade 10 level. By starting at a low level of Grade 5 you can relearn what you may have forgotten.”
“I love deadly maths better than core maths because it is not as fast and doesn’t have a million topics in the one, that is what I struggle with … In deadly, I seem to learn so much better and concentrate more … I feel that when I answer something … whether it be wrong or right I feel that I don’t get judged so much whereas in core maths I often keep it to myself.”
“Deadly math is amazing. It has helped my math so much and also my confidence in math.”
“Deadly math has really impacted my math skills. At the start of the year I was on a low grade but after 2 terms of doing deadly math I have gone up 2 whole grades.”
“Deadly maths makes core maths a lot easier and understandable because we sometimes (a lot of the time) will learn a term’s worth of core maths before it comes around, but [the YuMi Deadly Maths] way.”
“Deadly maths is a great program for high school! In primary school I was dreadful at maths and I mostly failed. On the first day of school I got told that I was going to be put into a class that helps with your mathematics … I learnt how to do maths in the best way possible. Each term I got better marks even in regular maths. I’m now in Year 9 learning grade 10–11 subjects.”
So, what do students think about YuMi Deadly Maths? Well, as the above comments show, they love it!
Contact us if you would like to know more about how your school can experience the benefits of YuMi Deadly Maths, like St Ursula’s College has. The YuMi Deadly Maths program at St Ursula’s College Yeppoon recently featured in their local Rockhampton newspaper, The Morning Bulletin. Click here to download a copy of the article.
Congratulations St Ursula’s College. Inspirational and sounds like I could learn and grow from observing your staff and students in action. Fantastic collection of comments from your students.