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    Personal Story

     Learning-and-Teaching 

    Catherine Scheffer
    Year 12 Siena College, Camberwell

    Along with six other Siena students and two teachers, I embarked on an immersion to South Africa for two weeks last year, living with a host family while learning of the history and culture of the country. 

    I noticed that despite all the hardships of the women of Kopanang, they were some of the happiest people I had ever met. The children stood out in particular for me; happy over the slightest of things. 

    For example, the other students and I brought balloons, pencils and stickers, which had them ecstatic for days on end. 

    This ability to draw happiness from poverty and quite often, hunger and pain, motivated me to produce a series of drawings under the title Happy Sadness which will be featured in the 2015 Visual Arts Display during Catholic Education Week. 

    A young boy named Tyron, who was a member of my host family, personally inspired me as he was always happy despite the conditions he lived in. I grew very close to Tyron, as well as having a strong connection to other children I encountered.

    It was after my time at Kopanang that I realised how much we take for granted; food, water, safety, education and much more. 

    Without knowing the children it is impossible to depict their current state of poverty. These children’s facial expressions show us that money is not the key to happiness. 

    It is my duty to tell my Siena school community that ‘happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.’  

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    Mathematics

    General Overview

    The Catholic Education Office Melbourne (CEOM) Mathematics Services Unit, through collaboration with schools and partners, aims to build system capacity to:

    • lead improvements in the teaching and learning of Mathematics
    • plan for and implement the powerful teaching of Mathematics
    • effectively use assessment to plan the next steps for learners and monitor progress
    • engage parents and communities to support the Numeracy development for all students.

    Main Activities

    Strategic Support Mathematics

    Strategic Support Mathematics is a partnership between the CEOM and participating schools for the intensive implementation of initiatives designed to deliver improvement in student learning and performance. In 2014, 15 primary schools were supported onsite by School Advisers Mathematics (SAMs) for up to four days a term. Teachers and leaders also participated in two offsite professional learning days, focused on best practice in the teaching and learning of Mathematics, and school Mathematics leaders attended two professional learning days focused on the development of coaching skills.

    Purposeful Teaching of Mathematics

    Purposeful Teaching of Mathematics (PToM) has been developed in partnership with the University of Melbourne. This program is focused on promoting school improvement through challenging and improving the practice of the PToM team and Mathematics teachers across the school. It places particular emphasis on the development of teachers’ knowledge of possible student misconceptions and the increased use of proven effective teaching strategies. In 2014, teams from eight secondary schools attended two days of professional learning and were supported onsite by CEOM project officers, Mathematics.

    Number Intervention F–4

    Number Intervention F–4 is a short-term intervention strategy focusing on number learning in the first five years of school, with the aim to support the lowest attaining students in number learning by supplementing the student’s classroom Mathematics learning. In 2014, new and ongoing number intervention teachers attended professional learning days – co-facilitated by Professor Bob Wright, alongside CEOM number intervention tutors – and were supported and mentored by the tutors through regular school visits.

    Mathematics: Expert Teaching F–4

    Mathematics: Expert Teaching F–4 was designed to support the development of teachers’ capabilities to meet the learning needs of students in Years F–4. This activity was designed to supplement professional learning occurring in school based Professional Learning Teams. The professional learning days focused on the number strand in AusVELS. Additional learning resources will be provided to support teachers to extend their practice in the other content strands. A key characteristic of this professional learning activity was the use of specific assessment tools and the trialling of relevant teaching strategies to address identified student learning needs.

    Mathematics: Expert Teaching 5–8

    Mathematics: Expert Teaching 5–8 was designed to support the development of teachers’ capabilities to meet the learning needs of students in Years 5–8. The professional learning days focused on key areas development in mathematical understanding: Relational Thinking, Decimals, Fractions and Multiplicative Thinking. Additional learning resources were also provided to teachers to extend their practice in the other content strands. A key characteristic of this professional learning activity was the use of specific assessment tools and the trialling of relevant teaching strategies to address identified student learning needs. Participants also had access to online SMART assessments that have been designed to reveal students’ mathematical thinking.

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    Other Initiatives

    • Primary Mathematics Leadership Clusters
    • Secondary Mathematics: Curriculum by Design
    • Leaders Number Intervention
    • Primary Mathematics: Curriculum by Design
    • New maths leaders
    • Leading Mathematics Professional Learning
    • Leaders as Coaches.
     

    Professional Learning Programs

     

    2014 MATHEMATICS PROFESSIONAL LEARNING SERVICES PRIMARY SECONDARY TOTAL
    New Leaders – Literacy & Mathematics 13 1 14
    Masters in School Leadership (Numeracy) 33 17 50
    Mathematics: Expert Teaching 5–8 35 5 40
    Primary Mathematics: Leadership 249   249
    Secondary Mathematics: Curriculum by Design 0 8 8
    Mathematics: Expert Teaching F–4 77 0 77
    Primary Mathematics: Curriculum by Design 38 0 38
    Leading Mathematics professional learning 26 0 26
    Leaders as Coaches: Year 2 35 0 35
    Leaders as Coaches: Year 1 25 0 25
    Strategic Support Mathematics: Intake 118 298 416
    Number Intervention F–4: Training Year 2 13   13
    Number Intervention F–4: Training Year 1 11 11 22
    Number Intervention F–4: Ongoing 23 0 23
    Number Intervention F–4: Leadership 73   73
    Number Intervention F–4: Ongoing (Clusters) 18   18
    Purposeful Teaching of Mathematics 0 20 20
    School Improvement Secondary Mathematics 0 20 20

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