> Why we say this

Why we say this

Having a theoretically informed framework enables teachers to plan authentic and meaningful learning that acknowledges that focuses attention on the connection between maths and the real world of Aboriginal learners is important.

If you value learning through a context you can’t follow a curriculum in a linear fashion. It needs to be responsive to the needs of individual learners. You don’t always have to start from the context, you can start from the mathematics, but making the connections between the two is vital. 

Development of a research focus

The framework gave teachers in the Alberton cluster of schools a common language through which to discuss the use of context in the teaching and learning of mathematics. They were able to express ideas in a deeper and more nuanced way than simply saying that context seems to improve learning. In particular, they became sensitive to the opportunities for mathematisation and contextualisation, and were able to talk about their classroom planning and activity in those terms. Informal observations and reflections from the teachers involved suggestions that this approach provided both affective and cognitive benefits for students. However this was what we termed “feel-good” data, rather than being based on systematic observations or measurements. We were thus challenged to develop a clear, concise and measurable research focus for 2011 and 2012, the final two years of the Make It Count project.

Consistent with the above discussion, the Alberton Cluster’s research question is now “What is the role of mathematisation and contextualisation in developing mathematical resilience and promoting transfer of learning among indigenous students?” This question is captured in Figure 1, which is the model that guidea both the design of teaching and learning activities and the collection of focused data.



Diagram: The Alberton Cluster model of mathematisation and contextualisation (Thornton, Statton & Mountzouris, 2012).

Figure1: The Alberton cluster research model and framework


The question addresses the problematic issues surrounding the use of contexts in teaching mathematics to Aboriginal students by providing a systematic approach to pedagogy through the intentional use of mathematisation and contextualisation. Furthermore it provides a focus for evaluating affective and cognitive outcomes that are specific and measurable.

Click here to find out more about our Framework.

Some of the other Clusters also contextualised mathematics. See the Orange Cluster (8ways) and Nerang Cluster (maths camp) for other approaches to making connections between mathematics and the real world.