MathEd Forum

August  1, 2014


Theme: The Times They Are Changing

September 28, 2012 at 10 am-2 pm
Fields Institute, 222 College Street, Toronto


Morning Program (10:00 - 11:30am): Reform in math education
10:00 - 10:10am Reports: OAME, OMCA, OCMA, CMESG, CMS, and other.
10:10 - 10:50am Priscilla Bengo (OISE): Mathematics coaching to improve teaching practice: The experiences of mathematics teachers and coaches.

Abstract: The study explores the relationship between teachers' specific emotions, teacher learning and teacher coaching in secondary mathematics classrooms. Using a case study approach, it shows that: a) mathematics reforms produce negative and positive emotions; b) emotions are a result of not knowing how to implement the mathematics reforms, beliefs about teaching and learning mathematics, the nature of coaching, gains in student achievement and engagement and positive in-school factors; c) coaching may not help teachers build their professional self-understanding when it fails to address their self-image issues; d) teacher learning can occur even when teacher beliefs are inconsistent with reform initiatives; and e) even when teacher learning results from coaching, reform strategies are modified by teachers. Coaches experienced positive and negative emotions based on how well the reforms were implemented by teachers. As a result, they require support during reforms. The directions for future research are described.

Biography: Priscilla Bengo received her Ph.D. in Mathematics Education from OISE/UT this year. Her research interests include mathematics reform implementation. She has had many roles coaching teachers and overseeing the implementation of mathematics reform in secondary schools in Ontario.

10:50 - 11:30am Martha Mavor (Western Ontario & LKDSB): Mathematics Therapy

Abstract: When confronted with the question: "How do you feel about mathematics?" most adults openly share a dislike, aversion, or negative opinion about the subject, which is a challenge faced by faculties educating the province's newest teachers. So, what experiences do preservice students need to have in order to develop positive feelings and opinions about math, and in turn help create those in their own students? Based on the work of Gadanidis and Namukasa (2005), this presentation will discuss Math Therapy, an approach to generalist elementary school teacher preparation that allows participants an opportunity to experience mathematics in a markedly different way than they have in their own education. For this presentation, the majority of the time will be spent highlighting and discussing the main themes and images of mathematics teaching (the role and nature of the teacher, student, math, and environment) that emerge from the writing of preservice teachers after engaging in therapeutic math experiences, and the implications of these findings in our own professional positions.

Biography: Martha Mavor is an elementary school teacher in the Lambton Kent District School Board. Prior to teaching, she worked for seven years with university students in Residence Life: four years as a Residence Manager at the University of Guelph and three years as the Training and Development Manager at McMaster University. Martha is completing her Masters of Education, Curriculum Studies focused on the Mathematics Curriculum at Western University, where she is also a Research Assistant. The findings from her research work form the basis of this presentation.

11:30 am - 12:30 pm LUNCH BREAK
(Light refreshments provided)

Afternoon program 12:30 - 2:00 pm

Panel discussion: Moving towards a two-year Teacher Education Program in Ontario.
Panelists: Christine Suurtamm (University of Ottawa) (Presentation slides)
Ann Kajander
(Lakehead University) (Presentation slides)
Donna Kotsopoulos
(Wilfrid Laurier University), (Presentation slides)
Dragana Martinovic
(University of Windsor), (Presentation slides)
George Gadanidis
(Western University),
Walter Whiteley
(York University), (Presentation slides)
Daniel Jarvis
(Nipissing University).

Abstract: For the extended afternoon session of the MathEd Forum, we are organizing a discussion about changes in the Teacher Education Programs in Ontario. Some of the panelists were involved in writing the MathEd Forum's open letter to the Ministry of Education (see welcoming the perceived extension of the pre-service teacher education program in Ontario and recommending ways in which new teachers would be "exceptionally prepared to meet the demands of teaching mathematics, and enhancing student learning experiences and outcomes." Since then, the Ministry came forward with proposed changes, some of which are compulsory (e.g., extension to four semesters with 80 days of practicum, and restricted enrollment). We have invited math educators from different universities in the area to talk about opportunities arising from this Ministerial initiative. An interfaculty committee may be struck to assist in this transition and follow the changes.
Main questions for the panelists are:
-To what extent will extension of the program (including teaching practice) resolve the issues we have with preparation of mathematics educators?
-What opportunities for math education community are opening with these changes?
-What challenges remain?
-What else can we (as the MathEd Forum) do to support mathematics education faculty in exceptional preparation of pre-service teachers?

2:00 Adjournment

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