FIELDS MATHEMATICS EDUCATION FORUM
MINUTES - SATURDAY OCTOBER 27, 2001
PRESENT: Doug McDougall, Lynda Graham, Gila Hanna, Gary Flewelling,
Geoff Roulet, Peter Crippen, Margaret Sinclair, Ysbrand de Bruyn, Chris
Kirkpatrick, Dragana Martinovic, Victor Ralevich, Bradd Hart, Alison
Gibbs, Pat Rogers, Peter Taylor, Eric Muller, Shirley Dalyrmple, Miroslav
Lovric, Stewart Craven, Claire Burnett, Tom Sepp, Chris Suurtamm
REGRETS: Ed Barbeau, John Kezys, Gord Doctorow, Bill Langford, Lynda
Colgan, Mary Lou Kestell
2. Approval of the Agenda - Additional items
3. Minutes of September 29th Meeting - see Fields Website, Forum section
4. Matters arising from the Minutes
- Email Maryam with any ideas
5. Steering Committee Report
- Bradd gives background on poster mailout
- Attend the shortage of math teachers
- Letter and poster mailed out to each high school math head
- Information about website
- Other possible mailouts include: faculty of education and teacher
- EQAO investigation issue, no response to letters yet
6. Task Forces Reports
a. On-line learning (Stewart Craven, Doug McDougall)
- Public Forum Invitation for Thursday November 15, 2001
- Set the stage for next 2 days
- 45 affirmatives so far = 1/5 elementary, 3/5 secondary, 1/5 college/university
- 5 working groups (refer to handout)
- Feedback from forum: Do these questions have meaning? Anything we
- How begin visions session: with general groups or specialists groups?
- November 5 meeting with working group leaders
- Visions/expectations - what skills, knowledge participants will gain
(maybe for follow up conference)
- Groupings: wide range of participant backgrounds, mixed grouping might
be best way to see all experiences
- Discussion of ideas take to specialist sections
- But good to have specialist groups in p.m. because deal with different
- Preliminary report for Nov. 24 forum meeting - authors will be in
b. Grade 12, Mathematics of Data Management
1. We met on Monday, October 22, we will meet again in November. We
are working on a teacher resource package around the culminating project.
2. Sandy and Shirley will be presenting the work of the task force
at the OAME Annual Conference in May.
3. We have made a presentation to the Data Management Course Profile
team and we will be offering support to the team during the development
of the profile.
- Data Management Course
- Anyone who has taken this please ask them to get involved
- People should be aware what the course is about, different from finite,
use of technology important
- Technology access is an issue in the school, booking/scheduling of
- Communicate with principal, relay expectations and needs
- Text book with CD might solve access problem
- Recent trends and statistics on internet, useful for student learning
c. School, College and University Interface
Minutes of the Transition Committee Meeting
The Transition Committee had its meeting yesterday, October 25, 2001.
The people present at the meeting were Stewart Craven, Ed Barbeau and
Peter Crippin. The meeting was held at the Scarborough Board of Education.
There was a wide ranging discussion of the new curriculum and how it
affected what students knew and what universities could reasonably expect
them to know.
We also made a number of observations about the nature of universities
and concluded that it would be difficult for most universities to make
large changes in first year courses. The reasons for this inability
to change were two fold. First and foremost, there is a body of content
that mathematicians believe is important to know and it is not possible
to easily alter this perception of what is necessary. Secondly, the
funds necessary to provide the technology and labs is not available.
Universities do not have the money to make the changes.
We decided that it was important that our committee take on a task
that was manageable and that was also useful. At the very least, we
felt we had to do something that would help the Forum members and hopefully
others. We decided that we had to do two things:
1. Set up focus groups throughout parts of the Province and talk to
teachers about what they do in the classroom. This would mean asking
teachers to fill out a questionnaire and to find out about what is taking
place in the classroom. We felt that there was going to be four or five
good opportunities in the spring to talk to teachers.
2. Start to collect examinations from teachers at the Grade 11U level
and get some idea how examinations have changed since the new curriculum
has been implemented. The kind of questions that were being asked and
what levels of assessment would be included within examinations would
be an important element of discussion.
We thought that there should be a day in May to which we invite university
personnel to the Forum and let them, along with high school teachers,
take part in a round table discussion.
- Who to direct focus groups survey information and results to?
- Send simple summary pamphlet to Chairs of departments
- Summary should include
1. statement of what students will have and what will not have
2. department of mathematics will need to promote different math courses
3. realize that students will be different
- How will scholarships/awards for limited programs be decided (Eric
Muller has not received response from anyone)
7. Associations and other Groups Reports
- small meeting
- Stewart did not attend, Tom to send report
b. OAME - Shirley Dalrymple
1. Conferences: Leadership -February 21-23, 2002, Four Points Hotel
OAME Annual -May 1-3, 2002, Georgian College
2. Forum Discussion: The cancellation of the census assessment of the
Investigation Component of the Grade 9 Assessment for 2001-2002
-discussed the benfits and concerns around EQAO assessments
-discussed alternative ways to deliver the assessment so that investigations
-Action: Shirely Dalrymple and the executive will design a response
to follow up the letter written earlier in October.
3. OAME's web page has increased in size to accommodate the many excellent
resources being prepared for teachers.
c. OCMA - John Kezys
The OCMA is hosting the American Mathematics Two Year Colleges (AMATYC)
(http://www.amatyc.org/) November 15 to 18 at the Sheraton Centre in
Toronto. This will attract over 1000 community college mathematics educators
from the United States. The OCMA is planning its annual conference at
the Kempenfelt Conference Centre, Barrie for May 29 to May 31, 2002.
program committee met but did not attend
8. Workgroups on "Learning environments for mathematics
content that's worth knowing". Article by George D. Nelson "Choosing
Content That's Worth Knowing" (attached) or see http://www.ascd.org/frameedlead.html
A handbook on Rich Learning Tasks developed by William Higginson and
Gary Flewelling and produced through Queen's, Imperial Oil and MSTE,
and conference a presentation by Gary (attached)
Group Discussions: Typical Learning Environments
- learning task, environmentally created
- is activity intellectual
- cannot lay out everything in task
- teacher's role, especially in University
- draw out math, synthesize
- teacher presents, assists, summarizes, but doesn't fit learning task
- math message may not be clarified during summary
- learning environment in 1st year university
- throw out 1/3 of curriculum
- synthesize material
- group tasks difficult in infrastructure
- independent thinkers
- difficult for students to take charge of learning when rushed
- too much scaffolding
- the way math environment looks
- focus on physical structure, tools
- instructional strategies too
- present tasks in different ways
- students should feel responsible to steer own investigation
- what does teacher do during inquiry process? - team planning
- teachers progress through math reform
Characteristics of Elementary Math Reform
(i) A broader scope, that is, multiple math strands with increased attention
on those less commonly taught such as Probability and Data Management,
Patterning and Algebra, rather than an exclusive focus on Numeration
and recall of algorithms.
(ii) All students have access to all forms of mathematics, including
lower ability students attempting complex problems. In contrast in a
direct instruction approach, students attempt complex only after they
have mastered basic operations, a stage often not achieved by lower
(iii) Teachers in the reform setting strive to raise student self-confidence
in mathematics rather than impede it.
(iv) Student tasks are complex, open-ended problems embedded in real
life contexts; many of these problems do not afford a single solution.
In contrast in traditional mathematics students work on routine applications
of basic operations in decontextualized, single solution problems.
(v) Instruction in reform classes focuses on the construction of mathematical
ideas through student discovery contrasting with the transmission of
canonical knowledge through presentation, practice, feedback, and remediation
in traditional programs.
(vi) The teacher's role in reform settings is that of co-learner and
creator of a mathematical community rather than sole knowledge expert.
(vii) Mathematical problems are undertaken in reform classes with the
aid of manipulatives and with ready access to mathematical tools (i.e.,
calculators and computers). In traditional programs such tools are not
available or their use is restricted to teacher presentations of new
(viii) In reform teaching the classroom is organized to promote student-student
interaction, rather than to discourage it as an off task distraction.
(ix) Assessment in the reform class is authentic (i.e., relevant to
the lives of students), integrated with everyday instruction, and taps
multiple-levels of performance. In contrast, assessment in traditional
programs is characterized by end of week and unit tests of near transfer.
(x) The teacher's conception of mathematics in the reform class is that
of a dynamic subject rather than a fixed body of knowledge.
Adapted from Ross, Hogaboam-Gray, & McDougall (forthcoming)