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The NCETM publishes Mathematics Matters Final Report


This page has been archived. The content was correct at the time of original publication, but is no longer updated.
Created on 06 October 2008 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 09 October 2008 by ncetm_administrator

Over the past year, the NCETM has undertaken a major consultation, Mathematics Matters, to review and describe the values and practices considered to be most important and effective by the mathematics education community.

The consultation framed the key question, “What constitutes the effective learning of mathematics?”, consulting more than 150 mathematics educators from all over the country, with representation from early years and primary teachers, secondary teachers, adult education teachers and teacher educators.

The NCETM, with its clear brief to provide coordination and leadership on all aspects of professional development for teachers of mathematics, took responsibility for stimulating and undertaking a national debate. There was a surprising level of consensus among the participants. Dr. Malcolm Swan, reader in mathematics education at University of Nottingham, who led the project and co-wrote Mathematics Matters Final Report, said:

Mathematics Matters has shown that there is broad agreement that maths teaching focuses too much on the development and testing of isolated, routine skills – ‘I’ll show you a method, now you practice it on your own’ – it’s so easy to teach this way, but it kills off enjoyment of the subject. Enthusiasm comes as children put their skills to work in tackling challenging problems that they haven’t already been shown how to do. They work together, sharing ideas and discussing possible approaches.

“Teaching this way is more difficult, it requires a deep understanding of the subject and makes greater demands on classroom management. The benefits though, are obvious. Children experience what it is like to be mathematicians and want to continue studying it. The professional development of teachers is of course vital, but it must focus on the maths, not just general issues. This is the vital role of the NCETM.”

Mathematics Matters is only a beginning and the NCETM looks forward to the report stimulating a wider, more informed debate and provide a basis for a greater consensus among the community of mathematics educators, assessment designers and policy makers in this country.

Many of the educators involved in the process commented on how much they valued the experience as professional development in its own right, enjoying sharing lesson accounts and reflecting on the values and principles they revealed. The lesson accounts collected during the consultation are available here.

The NCETM will continue to provide opportunities for sharing and reflection to continue through the portal and regional meetings. The Centre will also share all the underpinning evidence in the report with partners and stakeholders and use it to inform and influence its work.

  Click here to download the final report as a pdf. 

 
Click here to download the Mathematics Matters Executive Summary
 
Click here to view the Mathematics Matters Lesson Accounts
 
Click here to view & contribute to the Mathematics Matters Project Forum

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