
MATHEMATICS EDUCATION FORUM 

December 22, 2014  
FIELDS MATHEMATICS EDUCATION FORUM

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 online courses had been provided by school boards, and that there would be a Conference/Symposium looking at the current state of online learning, which was being planned for sometime in the new year.
3. Presentations: Inservice models for Elementary (K6) 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. Schoolbased
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 K6? 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
Wellstructured 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?