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NCETM Annual Conference 2009 - Summary

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Created on 13 July 2009 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 09 September 2009 by ncetm_administrator

NCETM Annual Conference 2009 - Professor Celia Hoyles

Mathematics teaching crucial to country’s
economic future, Conference hears

“The National Centre is a cornerstone of mathematical thinking, especially around the professional development of teachers of mathematics.”

With these words, National STEM Director Professor John Holman opened the 3rd Annual Conference of the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM).

The event at the Royal Society, in London on June 18, was attended by many key figures from the world of mathematics education who came to hear about and discuss the latest priorities for the continuing professional development (CPD) of teachers of mathematics.

The issues were clear:
  • Mathematics is crucial to the economic success of this country.
  • There must be no hiding places from mathematics in the curriculum.
  • Mathematics should continue to be studied post 16.
And, most importantly,
  • Teachers are essential to this mission of engagement, attainment and participation in mathematics at all levels.
In her keynote speech, ACME Chair Dame Julia Higgins spoke about the dangers of teaching to the test and the greater assessment role teachers should be empowered to take in the classroom. She also expressed hopes of a double GCSE Mathematics, leading to a much deeper understanding of the subject and greater numbers of students taking mathematics at A Level.

Dame Julia stressed the importance of the role of the NCETM in supporting teachers and signposting excellent mathematics CPD:

“There is one common thread and this is the critical issue of having teachers with the necessary skills, experience and confidence. Without effective CPD all these worthy aspirations are very difficult to achieve.”

Introducing the NCETM Annual Report 2009, National Centre Director Professor Celia Hoyles OBE outlined the Centre’s work in the last year to support teachers of mathematics. She then demonstrated some of the important recent developments to the web portal and described the significant increases in hits on the site since the changes were introduced.

A choice of workshops led by teachers, then offered participants the chance to get a flavour of some of the rich CPD experiences that have changed and improved classroom practice.

For example, in one, Tom Rainbow, of Ivybridge Community College, Devon, described how simply taking time to discuss division in depth with three pupils revealed all sorts of unseen misconceptions just beneath the surface, and how this process had had a profound impact on his teaching.

Panel discussions before and after lunch gave participants a chance to raise some wider questions:
  • How do we get consistency in the progression from primary to secondary mathematics?
  • How can we make the environment in schools and colleges more fertile to teachers returning from CPD so that the benefits don’t fade away?
  • How do we find time for reflection and ensure that we don’t only share good practice but transfer it?
Rounding up the day, Professor Holman said that during the very stimulating and important discussions that had taken place, he had been particularly struck by what had been said about the style as much as the content of CPD; and that the best CPD takes place not only in institutions but between them, in collaborative work.

The NCETM was well positioned to set the standard for that CPD, he believed, and this support would be essential for teachers of mathematics to meet the many challenges and pressures facing them in the future. 
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Teacher Enquiry Bulletin 2009 The NCETM - Impact and Inspiration Annual Report 2008/09

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