Peter Sullivan – mathematics

>>Professor Peter Sullivan
>>The Australian Curriculum Mathematics>>Professor Peter Sullivan
>>I…I want to talk about the Australian Curriculum Mathematics, and what it might
look like in classrooms, but first let me just mention what mathematics is, and… and
what it is that we want to educate our children for.
>>Fundamentally mathematics is about a way of seeing the world, it… it you know it’s
functional we… It helps us solve everyday issues, Ah, it’s social, it’s a way of understanding
the complexity of the world, um, you know in Science, in Economics, in Psychology, and
a whole lot of places.>>You know the Australian Curriculum has
two fundamental elements. The first one is the content, now the content is about um,
we can think of it being the nouns, and what it is, it’s lists of the type of mathematical
development, that… that students will progress through from year to year, and the teachers
can then say, well this is the type of mathematics that on balance most of the students should
engage with at some stage in the year.>>The truth matter is that… that those
nouns are not very different from what existed in South Australia and most other states already,
and so that shouldn’t make a big difference, but one of the characteristics that the way
the curriculum was written is it’s written very simply, and the intent is that teachers
come to understand what the curriculum says, and then make their own decisions about what
the curriculum is intending to… to… for them to do in their classroom.
>>So they’ll take that, and they’ll let it in act that classroom, that… that those
ideas in their own ways, it’s much more important that teachers know what they’re doing, than
the teachers try to implement someone else’s lesson.
>>The other aspect of the curriculum is what we might think of as the verbs, the things
that we do, now one way to think about it is that we want the children to be, to think
and be like a mathematician, now that means doing things.
>>Now there are some principals that are going to guide the inactivment of this in
classroom, one of them is that fundamentally experience should proceed instruction, and
so we want to give that… give students um, tasks in which they can engage, after which
there can be some instructional sharing of ideas.
>>The other thing is that students should sometimes work on tasks they don’t already
know how to do, and… and this is important, because if they’re always working on things
they know how to do, there not going to be learning, because that leads on to what fundamentally
is the most important element of the curriculum, is that we want the children to know that
they can learn mathematics, and if they know they can learn mathematics, then the next
year is not going to be terrifying for them, the concept of doing um, senior, secondary
mathematics is not going to be terrifying, the concept of using mathematics in their
world is not going to be terrifying, we want them to know they can learn, and so that’s
what it’s about.>>There are four proficiencies fluency, understanding,
problem solving, and reasoning, now the fluency and understanding are very much of what teachers
have always been doing, but the problem solving and reasoning represent a change to what the
curriculum has been, the working map mathematically strand, didn’t quite create the impression,
that the problem solving and reasoning verbs work with the nouns, so problem solving and
reasoning are on the content, there not separate from the content, they’re part of the content.
>>And so what we have to do is find ways to support teachers, and engaging with problem
solving, meaning, asking the students questions that they don’t know how to do, and reasoning
meaning, the students planning a strategy, implementing the strategy, communicating that
strategy, and being able to convince someone else that their strategy is the strategy that
communicates the answers, and if we can somehow find a way to integrate the content when it’s
called the nouns, with the prafictincey let’s call it the verbs, so we get sentences that
are rich, that produce, ah, that create the opportunities for students to learn mathematics
in a way which is robust, which are sustainable, which prepares them for a life in which they
can implement aspects of mathematics, in all aspects of their study, their professional
life, their personal life, their work life, and their social life.