To celebrate Maths Week 2020, Maths4All hosted an online TeachMeet on Thursday 15th October.
A TeachMeet is an organised but informal meeting for practitioners and teachers to share good practice, practical innovations and personal insights. Teachers can choose to listen or to present.
In the Maths4All TeachMeet, teachers from preschool, primary and secondary level gathered to discuss the teaching of learning of maths. Read about the ideas they shared below.
Learning Maths in the Early Years
Presenters who spoke about the teaching and learning of mathematics in the early years (preschool and primary) drew on their experiences of working with children in playful ways. They spoke about the importance of educators being alert for potential mathematical connections in everyday interactions and child-led activities. They highlighted that learning mathematics can occur in any setting (indoor and outdoor) and working with families to support parents in seeing and talking about mathematics in everyday situations can be very valuable for young children. It was noted again and again that ‘numeracy’ extends beyond counting and recognising numerals and that young children’s experience of maths should include opportunities to explore measures, shape, patterns and sorting. Learning opportunities can arise naturally through child-led activities or from educators choice of suitable nursery rhymes, picture books or other playful experiences that have meaningful connections to the child’s environment.
A number of presenters from the Early Learning Initiative at National College of Ireland presented on aspects of their work. This video presents some aspects of this work.
Learning Maths in Primary and Secondary School
Presenters spoke on a wide variety of topics as they explored mathematics learning in senior primary and secondary classrooms. Common themes of problem-solving, communicating, child-centred investigation and pupil agency emerged from the contributions and the subsequent discussions.
Some presenters explored novel problem-solving contexts such as picture books, izak9 cubes, rich games and concept cartoons. Others focused on how children engage in problem-solving lessons and the learning that can be derived from such contexts.The presentations highlighted the multi-faceted nature of ‘problem-solving’ and emphasised the importance of critical-thinking, reasoning and communicating. There was consensus that children are capable of deep mathematical thinking.
A sense of anticipation was notable as innovations and developments in mathematics education were discussed and it was clear that an appetite exists for further discussion on rich problem-solving contexts and their importance in the classroom.