# 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.