Students at Regina Coeli Catholic Primary School Beverley Hills have launched into the practical side of mathematics study with gusto and the help of a program that emphasises problem-solving skills.
The school began the Mathematical Expertise and Excellence (ME&E) program in 2018 with Kindergarten, Year 4 and Year 6 classes. The program provides professional development for teachers to better teach core Mathematics concepts. The problem-solving lessons are called ‘launch tasks’, and have allowed students to share, graph, vote, tally and collaborate in their calculations.
Year 1 students have joined the program this year. All classes will use the approach to teaching mathematics by 2020, acknowledging a shared belief among educators that problem-solving skills need to be explicitly taught and practiced.
It’s really fun. – Sienna Jovskevski
“We are committed to providing the best Mathematics education for every student, every day,” said Principal Chris Egan.
“We want to increase their understanding, skill, confidence and love of Mathematics. To achieve this, our teachers need to have expertise in teaching Mathematics with the ability to establish solid conceptual foundations for students.
“These are the building blocks of Maths that high schools can leverage if and when students chose to study higher levels of the subject later in their school careers.”
Year 4 teacher Helen Carlton said the approach provided higher levels of challenge for students, and more had more interested in Maths through the ME&E program’s launch tasks. She notes some of the highest performing education systems in the world, including Japan, have students excelling in Mathematics by using real-world situations to teach numeracy skills explicitly.
“Maths ultimately is about having the ability to solve real-world problems,” Ms Carlton said. “It needs to be taught in context. I have never understood and taught the Mathematics syllabus better than I do now. Each day students ask ‘Are we doing a launch task today?’”
We want to increase their understanding, skill, confidence and love of Mathematics. – Chris Egan