Date: 29 July 2017
By Ellen Corovic, Education Consultant.
The recent AAMT Conference held in Canberra was a fabulous professional learning opportunity. It was a fantastic opportunity to connect with professionals from across Australia who all work in a similar field within mathematics education. There were many inspiring sessions held over the three-day event with keynotes that challenged thinking and workshops that provided high quality teaching and learning advice. While attending the event there are two messages that weaved their way through things that I did and learnt.
Context based learning
Whether it be through an inquiry unit focusing on STEM, real life applications or the investigation of mathematics concepts, providing students with an authentic context is imperative. Authentic contexts support students to make connections with what it is they are learning, and therefore increase student engagement and understanding. They also support students to be able to apply their mathematical understanding fluently and to a range of problems.
What has meaning to the student should be a large part of the teaching conversation. Making meaning is important in the selection of tasks, content level or contexts for the application of skills. It is also important when a student writes their response to a task or visualises what’s happening. Students need to make sense of what’s going on in the context and to be provided opportunities to express themselves in multiple ways to demonstrate meaning.