MATHEMATICS EDUCATION FORUM

December 22, 2014

FIELDS MATHEMATICS EDUCATION FORUM
MINUTES - September 21, 2002

Present: Ed Barbeau, Trevor Brown, Stewart Craven, Rina Cohen, Shirley Dalrymple, Gord Doctorow, George Gadanidis, Lynda Graham, Enid Haley, Bradd Hart, Marylou Kestell, John Kezys, Sheine Mankovsky, Doug McDougall, Eric Mueller, Sandra Nagy, Chris Nanou, Ian Nussbaum, Geoffrey Roulet, Chris Suurtamm, Lyn Vause, Marg Warren, Diane Wyman

9:30 to 10:00 refreshments

10:00 start

1. Eric Muller opened the meeting by describing some of the initiatives of the Math Education Forum, which included the online task force and the Mathematics of Data Management online discussion group.

2. Stewart Craven described the online teaching initiative; he noted that samples of on-line courses had been provided by school boards, and that there would be a Conference/Symposium looking at the current state of on-line learning, which was being planned for sometime in the new year.

3. Presentations: In-service models for Elementary (K-6) Mathematics teachers

Presentation 1: Marg Warren, math educator and former administrator (see attachment)

Presentation 2: Trevor Brown, Toronto District School Board (see attachment)

Presentation 3: George Gadanidis, University of Waterloo (see attachment)

Discussion
-'Industrial models' like 'train the trainer' focus on total number of teachers affected by the program, but ignore issues like the depth of learning for those teachers
-Philosophy: whether teachers are deliverers of math education, or could be people who connect with the subject of mathematics and are engaged in an ongoing process of learning
-Other countries, specifically Australia, directly tie university education to ministry curriculum taught in schools
-Definite need for implementation professionals
-Smaller group approaches to training work better, but cost more; workshops are good, but when they end, the learning sometimes ends as well. School-based approaches have the potential of entrenching learning for mathematics teachers.
-Useful vs. powerful numeracy - 'name a triangle' vs. 'how many triangles are there?'
-Fundamental issues of teacher confidence need to be addressed: are teachers avoiding math out of anxiety? If an individual isn't comfortable enough with their math to feel questions, then this prevents the success of models like 'train the trainer', as well as kids' learning.

4. Small group discussion on Eric Muller's question: "What are the important concepts in Mathematics K-6? What are good examples which highlight and integrate these concepts?"
-Instead of looking at answering questions, the groups looked at what the challenges were for children in answering questions
-major concepts were identified: fractions, ratios, proportions, decimals, rational functions, algebra, probability, trigonometry, problem solving, model building, duality and reversibility, spatial reasoning, estimation and analogous reasoning
-Deeper understanding of number and structure necessary for kids: realization that math isn't simply a series of rules
-Well-structured word problems and full inquiry problems beneficial
-It was noted that teachers reporting on each individual strand on report cards was counterproductive for the integration of strands
-How does structuring of these strands impact children's learning?