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Through the intervention programs we saw struggling students build skills and confidence. We know that students built relationships with their tutor, they felt more confident and were more willing to join in on discussions in their mathematics class.

Teachers who explicitly taught mathematical language and who made learning intentions clear felt themselves that they were making the learning less confusing and more directed for their own teaching. When success criteria was added to the learning intention, teachers noted that their more abled students would refer to the examples given within the success criteria.

Using open-ended questions and problem solving in the classroom was well received by students. Teachers began using this style of questions in all topics and that students were highly engaged. Some teachers noted that some of their students needed to build mathematical stamina in order to take the time, trial different strategies and build resilience before solving this type of question independently.

Teachers who employed narrative found that their students loved their stories, and teachers built on this observation to include their student’s names and local landmarks in their stories. 

Teachers who attended the cultural awareness training reported a deeper understanding of Australian history inclusive of Aboriginal Australians and a greater empathy for Aboriginal people.  The result of this this understanding and empathy has impacted classrooms, as teachers have begun recognising their strengths, favouring Indigenous perspectives programs and approached their Indigenous students with support and encouragement.

How We Know

We know that students that have been involved in maths intervention programs have been successful (and these programs) data component tracks growth, which was evident with all students enrolled. Their classroom teachers and tutors also commented on the growth in confidence and organisation that was seen over the period of the program. In terms of GRIN, students who were enrolled in the GRIN program for more than six months were at or above state average on the NAPLAN results for numeracy. Their teachers also commented on the growth in class based tests and confidence in maths discussions.

The teachers who modified their practice to be more explicit about their intentions and the language they use in maths were interviewed. The interviews asked the teachers to respond generally to the maths professional development that they had been involved in rather than specifically the learning intentions and explicit language teaching.

Teachers who tried using narrative to teach students included statements in their significant episodes that indicated the engagement of students in these stories, particularly stories that included their teacher or classmates.

These, with problem solving, were the prominent themes that teachers had really taken on board. They told stories about asking kids to put the learning intention in their own words, and they were surprised at the lack of understanding some students had about maths language that was regularly used in their classroom. Teachers loved to give examples of the different problem solving questions they had tried with their students. Some teachers tried problems from recommended resources such as Sullivan & Lilburn (2004) Open Ended Questions. They discussed open-ended questions and how their students would be ‘up in arms’ about having multiple answers to a question.

Teachers who attended the Cultural Awareness Training had to complete an evaluation form as part of the training and they were also interviewed on camera (as a part of this resource). They were asked how they had been affected by cultural awareness training, and how it has or might influence their practice. There were common themes about recognizing Aboriginal culture, and showing empathy for Aboriginal people in order to support their Indigenous students through their learning.