Friday, 20 January 2012

Author Chat – Suzi de Gouveia

Essential Resources author Suzi de Gouveia stopped to chat to Gail Jefferies about her latest books before heading off for the summer holidays.

Suzi de Gouveia’s lively verve fizzes up the phone-line. It’s less than an hour until the end-of-year school break-up, but this Christchurch principal’s passion for education is unwearied.   

A hands-on principal at St Teresa’s primary school, Suzi is also a successful author and one of the dynamic writing team that includes Jackie Andrews and Jude Callaghan. Together, they wrote the highly successful No Nonsense Number and the Number Counts series. Today, though, the topic of conversation is their new series, At Home with Maths.

This series comprising write-on, take-home books for students would seem to be a departure from their usual photocopiable teacher resources. “No,” says Suzi, “no really – it supports what we normally write.”

Based on the New Zealand curriculum, At Home with Maths is designed to reinforce maths concepts; following through the stages taught at school and providing practice at the correct levels. “It aligns with everything they do in class,” says Suzi.

“And children want to do them.”

Really?

“Yes children often ask for things to do at home. They say, ‘oh these are fun’ and I say, ‘yes I know who wrote them,’” she says laughing.

Suzi believes fun is the extra magic that makes the team’s books so successful. The authors have fun writing them and this flows through to teachers, and most importantly, to the children. But this At Home with Maths series also supports parents.

“Parents will say ‘how do we support our children at home?’ This gives them the tools to help their children, appropriately,” says Suzi.

Well-meaning parents can inadvertently cause complications by self-teaching maths to their children, the way they were taught – long division, algorithms and such like. “Today it’s about developing thought processes, says Suzi. “We do teach those other things,” but not until much later; and in stages.”

But parents can be reassured – there are some things that haven’t changed. “Instant recall of times tables and basic facts is still important,” says Suzi.

These books are great practice for students during the holidays to prepare them for the coming school year.




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