|8 Sep 2021|
|From the Archives|
The 1960s was a period of great change in education in NSW. The Wyndham Scheme brought major changes to secondary education, including increasing the leaving age, whilst in primary schools, the overhauled curriculum was being introduced. Mathematics was the first subject to undergo a review with the new curriculum being taught at Arden for the first time in 1967.
Considered to be radically different from the previous curriculum, New Maths was designed to see students grasp the concepts by understanding rather than simple repetition of tables and complicated sums. The methods of teaching and the resources needed were therefore very different from those used by previous generations of Arden students. This resulted in the arrival of a shipment of modern teaching aids from Unique House, including trundle wheels and weights, that were designed to give students the ability to investigate and discover many mathematical facts for themselves. One newspaper article reported that students now had the opportunity to measure wind velocity or create a scale drawing of the School, featuring every path, building, and piece of outdoor equipment.
In 1968, with New Maths still in vogue, Unique House asked the School to demonstrate the teaching aids for a short documentary which was to feature on Channel 10 just after the evening news. Filming for the documentary occurred after the Easter break, with our School Magazine reporting:
“All morning the seven fortunate stars fiddled with new mathematical equipment, answered the same questions repeatedly, and generally charmed and amused the onlookers. After a few hours, the novelty began to wane and after viewing the film of six minutes’ length, we were glad not to be ‘in’ television.”
This television appearance, and subsequent newspaper articles, was great publicity for the School. It cemented Arden as innovative, with its staff at the forefront of teaching and learning practices.
Over 50 years on, the teaching methods brought about by New Maths are now commonplace in our classrooms. Every day Arden students are encouraged to enquire, investigate and discover for themselves.
Do you have memories or memorabilia relating to teaching and learning at Arden? As Arden’s Centenary approaches in 2022, the Archives welcomes donations of relevant memorabilia and reminiscences from members of our School Community. This includes contemporary items as these will become tomorrow’s history. If you feel you have something that may be of interest, the Archives would appreciate hearing from you. Please get in touch by email: email@example.com