To help students view mathematics in a more favourable light, a number of former pupils were contacted and asked to give details of how they use mathematics in their daily lives. This information was gathered through an online questionnaire or visits to the school to talk to pupils—a booklet of responses was also given to students. Attitudinally pre- and post-testing students suggested that this initiative helped address pupils’ concerns regarding the purpose of classroom mathematics. The diversity of professions also helped dispel many myths about the usefulness of mathematics. Subsequently, the project has proven to be a catalyst for a range of cross-curricular projects and events inspired by the former pupils’ case studies, all of which serve to continue to address the initial aims of the project regarding pupil perception of the subject, in the light of both workplace and everyday life.
Garrod Musto has written an article that was recently published in Teaching Mathematics and its Applications. The article is entitled Showing you’re working: a project using former pupils’ experiences to engage current mathematics students, and here is the abstract: