The Understanding Maths philosophy - by series editor Warwick Marlin
The philosophy relating to my publications was derived from many years of first hand experience in the classroom as a practising teacher, and also from privately coaching many hundreds of students on a one to one basis. I achieved exceptionally successful results in both these areas, and so I decided in 1988 to try and formulate some of my methods and techniques into book form.
There are numerous possible reasons associated with a poor understanding of maths. It could be as a result of inadequate teaching, or missed work through illness, or insufficient understanding of basis concepts from earlier years, or simply a lack of motivation and interest on the part of the student.
Another possible reason is that the conventional school textbook of 600 pages or more is often rather off putting to the weak and average student. Many of the bulky texts have been written to try and follow the exact syllabus letter by letter. Consequently they often miss the point, because they are filled up with a great deal of extraneous work and activities that have little relevance or importance to the true understanding of the topic concerned. Consequently, by the end of particular chapter it is often difficult for a student to distinguish the important examinable facts from all the other clutter and miscellaneous information.
We also have to add to this factor that modern day classroom teachers have to try and cope with an ever increasing load of additional responsibilities, such as reporting, paper work, counseling, disruptive students and educational bureaucracy. Often there is little time left over for good old-fashioned preparation, and high quality face-to-face teaching. Also when I was coaching primary school students, I found that every day they would bring back a different sheet of quick, mental type questions. One day it would be on decimals, the next day on fractions, the next day on geometry, and so on. There was no structured approach whatsoever in these assignments, and most students would rush through them in about 5 minutes. This piece meal way of teaching doesn’t make any sense to me, because it lacks continuity, depth and a real understanding of a particular topic. I also know that many concerned parents with children in primary school do not have any clear overview picture of the major topics and ideas that their children should be mastering.
It was with some of the above problems in mind, that I decided to write and publish books that cut through all the jargon of the Education Department, and all the superfluous self-discovery type activities in the normal school textbooks. With the help of several other highly experienced and qualified teachers, I wanted to create a series of books that comprehensively yet concisely explained all the important and vital ideas in each major topic of the syllabus.
Another extremely important aim was to develop and design books with excellent presentation, so that they would be USER FRIENDLY to both students, and in many cases also the parents. I say parents, because many parents spend considerable time helping children with maths and other homework during primary school and the first two (2) years of high school. And naturally they also want resource books that they can understand and relate to, and which are user friendly and well structured.
I am confident that many of my initial goals have been achieved, because over the past fifteen (15) years we have mailed out hundreds of thousands of books to highly satisfied students, parents, teachers, schools, librarians and coaching colleges throughout Australia and New Zealand. During that time we have received many hundreds of positive letters and phone calls from parents telling us about the significant improvement our books have made to their children’s’ understanding and results. In the course of time, we hope to gradually obtain permission from many of these parents, students and teachers to put some of their comments on our Website.
In summary, these high quality books with hundreds of original questions should prove to be an exceptional learning aid to students of all ability groups. We hope you take the opportunity to assess them for yourself, and we are confident that you will find them to be the best summary books available on the market. In that regard, we can do no more than offer you our complete guarantee.
Warwick Marlin B.Sc. Dip.Ed.
Founding Publisher, Author and Editor of Understanding Maths series