BSRLM Proceedings: Vol 40 No 3 held Online on Saturday 14th November 2020
Proceedings of the Day Conference held Online on Saturday 14th November 2020
Peter Kwamina Awortwe and Geoff Wake
University of Nottingham
This study aims to understand beginning teachers’ knowledge of mathematics, the use of technology, and pedagogy appropriate to learning how to work with students making geometric constructions using dynamic geometry, with the eventual aim of understanding how we might improve (initial) teacher education in this area. The two research questions focus on how exploratory tasks might support beginning teachers to gain appropriate knowledge to teach geometric constructions with technology and how they understand knowledge for teaching using technology. Methodologically, design-based research was adopted, with the researchers being both initiators and designers of the tasks. Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the researchers conducted the study remotely with video recordings made of the beginning teachers’ investigations and discussions. Initial findings show participants gained knowledge of how to use dynamic geometry software to teach geometry.
UCL Institute of Education, University College London
This paper describes the design of a short professional development course for prospective mentors of mathematics teachers. A vignette activity sequence approach that promoted the use of topic specific mathematics education research was employed, as a means of supporting the course participants to critically reflect on, and make explicit their own teaching practices. We present and discuss the various components of the course, and account for how such a design served the purpose of encouraging the participants to be introspective of their ability to provide explanations and examples that place the teaching of specific mathematics topics at the heart of mentor-mentees conversations.
Pamela Di Nardo1 and Sue Pope2
1Education Scotland, 2Scottish Qualifications Authority
This short paper sets out the different approach to mathematics education in Scotland, including the Curriculum for Excellence, Scottish qualifications and teacher education.
Jennie Golding1, Grace Grima2
1UCL Institute of Education, 2Pearson UK
We report on findings from a 2019-2021 study of use and impact of Power Maths, a ‘mastery’-oriented primary (R-year 6) resource. The study follows 40 classes of 2019-20 Power Maths-using year 1, 3 and 5 children and their teachers over two years, exploring teacher/pupil use and impact on learning. We report initial high-level findings. Summer 2020 study data serendipitously enabled us to understand aspects of teachers’ work over the pandemic period. Teachers reported particular challenges in addressing new areas requiring conceptual development, and inability to effectively develop children’s mathematical language or reasoning, or to monitor deep progress in mathematics learning. However, some children’s learning benefited from small group in-school provision, and others’ from more contextualised and less time-constrained ‘home schooling’. Tentatively, children returning to school often showed initially slow, but accelerating, recovery from confidence and learning loss.
University of Tasmania
This study examines the analogies used by 26 secondary mathematics teachers when they respond to five open-ended items about function. The argument is that the descriptions present in the responses of teachers provide information about how teachers view and construct functions. The study presents the main analogies used by the participant teachers and examines ways in which they are structurally mapped to function by applying the structure-mapping theory. Among the analogies discussed are the child-mother linkage and machine/factory analogies. The paper suggests the use of analogy as a tool in teacher knowledge investigations.
Stephen Lee1, Tom Rainbow1, Catherine Van Saarloos1, Rebecca Landon2 and Charlie Stripp1
1Mathematics in Education and Industry, 2Tribal
The government-funded Advanced Mathematics Support Programme (AMSP) seeks to improve the quality of 11- 19 mathematics teaching. One way it does this is by providing extensive professional development (PD) for teachers. As part of its response to the loss of face-to-face PD for most of 2020 due to COVID-19, the AMSP developed an online ‘Core Maths Festival’ (CMF), which ran from May to July 2020. The CMF consisted of 22 online PD sessions. It was promoted through the AMSP’s extensive networks and 3622 participants registered to attend one or more sessions, including 1177 distinct teachers from 794 distinct state schools and colleges. This paper uses the CMF as a case study to explore teacher engagement with online PD. It gives background to Core Maths qualifications, and why such PD is needed. It also considers the uptake of Core Maths in the attendees’ schools and colleges, and reviews feedback from over 850 participants.
University of Cambridge
Although state schools in England are being encouraged to ensure that their pupils, where appropriate, achieve ‘mastery at greater depth’, limited school budgets restrict their opportunities for purchasing suitable mathematical resources. In a project funded by the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge, the university’s mathematics outreach team NRICH worked with a group of primary schools in Tower Hamlets to explore ways to deliver existing, freely-available problem-solving resources to fulfil the requirement for teaching and learning ‘mastery at greater depth’. The planned project involved a year-long series of professional development events for teachers, gap tasks and a case study with four of the participating schools. Despite the project being delayed by school closures during the Covid-19 pandemic, this paper explores its initial findings which indicate ways that schools might consider adapting their use of existing problem-solving resources to enable their students to achieve ‘mastery at greater depth’.
Nokuthula Mashiyane and Elena Nardi
University of East Anglia
We report from a study which explored UK primary school teachers’ narratives about mathematical ability using semi-structured interviews and engaging participants in situation-specific activities from the MathTASK programme (mathtasks). We analysed the written responses to the mathtasks and interview data through Nardi, Biza & Zachariades’ classification of teacher warrants. Here, we first introduce a mathtask (called “Fractions” in which four students grapple with the question “How do I know which fraction is bigger?”) designed to elicit teacher talk about mathematical ability and trigger discussion of whether, how and why teachers deploy grouping students by ability. We then draw on one teacher’s data to illustrate themes that emerged as characteristic across our analysis: prevalence of personal and professional empirical warrants and limited presence of a priori and epistemological warrants. Ability narratives emerge as strong influences on teacher decision making as do public narratives of mathematical ability as innate.
Heather Mendick1, Maria Berge2, Andreas Ottemo3 and Eva Silfver2
1Independent, 2Umea University, 3University of Gothenberg
From The Big Bang Theory to Stranger Things, geek characters are increasingly central to contemporary popular culture. They may be primarily into technology or science but this is always grounded in extraordinary mathematical skills. As Tony Stark says in Iron Man “If my math is right, and it always is…”. In this article, we map one aspect of how the pop culture geek is represented: suffering-revenge narratives. We use the Mark Zuckerberg biopic The Social Network as an archetypal example and argue that while suffering and revenge have always been part of geek representations, they are increasingly taking on misogynistic forms. These narratives legitimate the gendered policing of online geek spaces and wider sexism. As a contrast, we look at working-class Latina female geek Betty Aurora Rincón in the television series Betty en NY showing how she responds to suffering with forgiveness and empathy rather than revenge.
Ben Redmond1, Jennie Golding2, Grace Grima1
1Pearson, 2UCL Institute of Education
We report on ways that teaching and learning for mathematics A Levels, studied pre-university in England (by students aged 16-18), was disrupted by Covid19 in Summer 2020. Findings are contextualised within teacher and student accounts of the aspirational and time-pressured nature of these reformed qualifications. We explore the nature of engagement with mathematics achieved by year 12 and 13 students during lockdown, and the preparedness of 2019-20 year 11 and 13 students for progression into A Level/Higher Education respectively. Our findings derive from the third year of a four-year study (2017/18 to 2020/21) exploring enactment and impact of reformed mathematics A Levels, and efficacy of associated Pearson resources and assessments. Research tools were adapted to focus on impacts of Covid19. We present a snapshot (March to July 2020), of teachers and students looking to the future in a time of uncertainty and rapid change.
Maria Grzegorzewska University
In this research report, I present the crystallizing experiences related to the shaping of interests in mathematics: that is, experiences that involve people with extraordinary talent or potential abilities with the material of a given field in which this talent can manifested. The study covered Polish international winners of mathematics Olympiads organized in 2000-2019. The history of mathematics shows that the groundbreaking discoveries of mathematics were made by young people (period adolescence and early adulthood). Examples are the achievements of Evarist Galois, Srinivas Aiyangar Ramanujan, and Terence Tao. The main goal of this research report is a presentation of the breakthrough events in the lives of talented adolescents and young adults, which were related to the orientation of their minds towards mathematics.
Fiona Yardley and Charlotte Cooper
Canterbury Christ Church University
We reflect on our experiences working with 35 Teach First Trainees in June and July 2020 in an entirely online environment. Trainees had had no opportunity to spend any time in a classroom or with young people before commencing on an 80% timetable in September, and we have (still) not met any of the trainees face to face. In this reflective piece we describe and reflect on the changes we made to our pedagogy, especially those which produced an unexpectedly rich and sophisticated discourse, as well as the challenges.