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Maths teacher collaborative pedagogy project

Educator story

Benjamin Potts
Literacy & Numeracy Improvement Teacher
St Peter Claver College
Nerang Cluster

This year, a group of 10 teachers from St Peter Claver College participated in a collaborative pedagogy project. The aim of the project was to use Aboriginal pedagogies as the basis for developing quality teaching practices in maths.

Professional learning and inspiration
Teachers attended a conference in January where they learned about Tyson Yunkaporta’s 8ways framework and various ideas for hands-on activities and reflective techniques for the maths classroom. They began developing an approach to teaching students with these ideas at its core.

The school received funding through the Make it Count project for teachers to collaboratively design, implement and observe lessons which used the 8ways of Learning as their basis. Professor Peter Grootenboer from Griffith University (Cluster Critical Friend) assisted teachers with the design of the lessons. He suggested some very practical ways to teach the concepts which students were currently studying. His ideas inspired teachers to begin experimenting with hands-on ‘discovery’ learning activities in their maths classes.

Developing pedagogy through collaboration
The project included three groups of teachers in Years 8, 9 and 10. Each fortnight, teachers delivered a lesson to a targeted class then met as a group to discuss the lesson and prepare the next. An important aspect of the project was providing teachers with the opportunity to visit each other’s classrooms. However, the emphasis was less on teachers observing each other’s teaching, and more on teachers observing the effect of the activity on improving learning for all students, especially Aboriginal students. Each class of approximately 30 students included between two and four Aboriginal students. As the project developed, teachers agreed that it was not so much about catering for Aboriginal students, but more about learning from Aboriginal pedagogies how we can better cater to all students.

In Year 8, students investigated the sum of interior angles in a polygon. This lesson involved students drawing polygons, shading and cutting off the angles, then putting them back together to discover the relationship between the number of sides and the sum of all angles. Teachers observed students using different methods to develop a rule on their own. Of course, the students could have been simply presented with the rule. However, because students were given the time to develop their own conceptual understandings, they became confident solving for more complex shapes.

Hands-on learning
For the next lesson, students began learning about statistics and probability by investigating whether people’s writing hands held more than their non-writing hands, using plastic cubes. Both activities emphasised hands-on learning and reflective techniques...


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Maths teacher collaborative pedagogy project

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