Teaching Maths Without a Maths Degree

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					   Liverpool Hope & Edge Hill
Mathematics Enhancement Course

                 From enhancement to the
                   classroom: a quality
Phil Bamber:
Mark Patmore:

Some issues:
Consider the course divided into three
1 The course – contents, delivery and
2 Application and selection
3 The final product
Course Philosophy

   Intensive 26 weeks – 500 hours of tutor contact time
   Peer / tutor support
   Mathematics education tutors
   Developing mathematical confidence and rigour
   Balance of depth and breadth
   Exposure to new technology
   „Deeper understanding of fundamental mathematics‟
Specification for the Pre Initial Teacher Training
Mathematics Enhancement Course
TTA, February 2003

   “One aim of the Mathematics Enhancement Course
    (MEC) is to begin to develop a profound understanding
    of fundamental mathematics. This means that subject
    knowledge is characterised by:

     Connectedness as against fragmentation
     Multiple perspectives – a flexible and adaptive
     Deep understanding of basic concepts, as against
      surface procedural knowledge” Page 6
Subject Knowledge and Pedagogical Knowledge
Doug French, 2003

   “Moreover teachers need subject knowledge that is
    linked closely to pedagogical knowledge.

    For example, an awareness of common
    misconceptions and ways of looking at them, the
    importance of forging links and connections between
    different mathematical ideas and the flexibility that
    comes from seeing alternative ways of looking at the
    same idea or problem are all essential for effective
                       Mathematics Education Review, April 2003
Specification for the Pre Initial Teacher Training
Mathematics Enhancement Course
TTA, February 2003

   Indicative approaches to learning and teaching:

“Collaborative learning is an important way in which
  participants can come to recognise the enhancement in
  their learning which as occurs as a result of self
  reflection and relating their understanding to that of
  others. This is one vehicle for deepening the
  understanding of mathematical concepts.”
Course Features
   December registration
   Induction residential
   Subject audit / Keele diagnostic test
   Personal tutor
   Pure and applied teaching blocks
   Range of assessment including the ‘Open book exam’
   School placement
   Fundamental sessions
   Peer teaching
   Reflection on learning
   Individual inquiry
   School interventions
School intervention
- What did it involve?

   Needs led
   MEC tutor development of resources
   Thorough preparation of MEC students
   Discussion of issues
   Reflection on pupil’s learning
 Motivation                               Confession of
  contextualised                        Change the ‘ecology
     learning                            of learning’

                   Learning Community

  Strengthened links with      Professional Development
      partner schools
Development                                  New ideas
Service – Learning?

   “Service – Learning has tremendous potential to enable
    colleges and universities to meet their goals for student
    learning and development while making unique
    contributions to addressing community needs.” (p.xvii)

   “Service – Learning must be grounded in a network of
    authentic democratic, reciprocal partnerships” (p.6 )

    „Building Partnerships for Service – Learning’
    Barbara Jacoby, 2003.
– Thinking Mathematically


           Deep understanding of
           important concepts:
           Algebra, percentages
– Fun Maths Roadshow

        Problem solving, confidence
          building, group bonding,
         interesting activities, great
           resource ………..FUN!
    The Course

   Different approaches yet still very similar in
    content. Do providers, (referring providers), know
    what is in the course?

   Different assessment methods.Do providers have
    confidence in the standards set and knowledge
Application and selection:

 •   (a) Applying direct to the MEC or (b) applying
     for PGCE/GTP and being referred or (c) making
     a joint application.

 •   (a) Applying direct:
     should be discouraged and the applicant will
     be recommended to apply through GTTR for
     the PGCE or to apply directly to a GTP provider
Application and selection:

•   (b) and (c) Applying for PGCE

    problems with GTTR
     – delays in forwarding applications
    sometimes caused e.g. by telling referees that
    they don’t need to submit their reference until
Application and selection:

•    (b) and (c) Applying for PGCE
    Problems with providers who are
    unable/unwilling to bring forward their
    interview dates.

    Problems of consistency between
    providers with respect to entry qualifications
Application and selection:

•   (b) and (c) Applying for GTP:

•   problems with providers who are
    unable/unwilling to bring forward their
    interview dates.

•   This is sometimes caused or worsened by
    problems in finding school placements.
Views of

   „At university I was taught by mathematicians who
    obviously knew a lot of maths – but did not care
    how much I understood!
    I dropped out after 4 months and thought I would
    never be able to become a maths teacher.
    Unless we can improve the „teaching‟ at degree
    level, the MEC is vital.
    I would have given up my dream.‟
Looking back on the MEC experience from first
teaching posts……….

   “Because the course went beyond A level it provided me
    with a much deeper understanding of mathematics. At times
    the course felt over the top or excessive compared to the
    teaching requirement. However, I now feel that this
    experience has given me a wealth of confidence.” MEC04

   “I would recommend the MEC to anyone who was looking to
    teach maths – even those with maths degrees – particularly
    from a number of years ago” MEC04
Which features of the MEC have been most effective
in helping you prepare for your teaching career?

 „The vast majority of the course was spot on, some of the
  delivery has become more relevant to me now that I am
  teaching‟ MEC04

   „The tutors enthusiasm towards mathematics and teaching
    mathematics has been an inspiration to me. It is the same
    way I would like to teach the subject, so that my students
    will be inspired as well.‟ MEC05
Spin offs……

   Regional collaboration
   Funding for work across regions
   Resources – personnel and hardware/software

   Positive impact on non MEC PGCE students
   Model for CPD for current non specialist maths
    teachers…and others?
The Final product:

Trainees seem:
–   more enthusiastic and better prepared for the
–   more willing to engage and learn and take
    responsibility for their learning,

And they show evidence of mathematical
competence and understanding
Other issues:

   Impact on other provision – e.g. 2 year

   Do schools i.e. HTs and HoDs, know and
    understand the MEC?