> Focus

Home / Clusters / Alberton / Focus

Cluster focus

What is the role of mathematisation and contextualisation in developing mathematical resilience and promoting transfer of learning among Aboriginal students?

We developed our cluster focus question above over time. We chose to focus on resilience as early observations of teachers suggested that students were more engaged, more willing to take risks and less likely to give up. The term 'resilience' is widely used to describe a positive orientation to learning especially when the learning is 'hard'.  This seemed to fit our observations, so five specific aspects of mathematical resilience became the focus of our data collection:

  • growth mindset
  • meta-cognition
  • adaptability
  • interpersonal skills
  • sense of purpose.

Developing the focus on mathematical resilience was a main element in the cluster inquiry. Key teachers from each site developed this focus during a two day cluster workshop with our cluster's Critical Friend Steve Thornton from Charles Darwin University. This focus came from teachers collecting data on their Aboriginal students during mathematics lessons and similar themes and behaviours began to emerge. Further research in mathematical resilience led to this area being a major feature of the project.

Working on the assumption that mathematical resilience will improve mathematical achievement...view our presenation on resilience in the Alberton Cluster.

Why we did it

One of the Alberton PS teachers, Sophie, experimented prior to the Make It Count project with teaching mathematics through design, in which the group of learners became known as the ‘Deadly Designers’.

How we did it

Teachers at Alberton came together shortly after the launch of the Make It Count project at the end of 2009 and began discussions about how the ‘Deadly Designers’ model could be used in teaching mathematics through a range of different contexts.


Our cluster has contributed to five cluster findings which we believe to be significant. We developed a model that was used to inform pedagogy and plan learning activities.