Dr Calvin Irons BA. MA. PhD. (Mathematics and Mathematics Education)
The process has begun – finally. We hope that the work to review the mathematics (and digital technologies) curriculum over the next 12 months does indeed result in clarity about what is to be taught. The seemingly poor performance by our students in mathematics should not be blamed on them or their teachers. The jargon and lists of poorly connected ideas in the current mathematics curriculum does indeed make it challenging to comprehend. Read more
Written by James Burnett
This past month, the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) began its review of the Australian Curriculum: Mathematics to “refine, realign and declutter” the content. This was most likely due to Australia’s poor showing on recent international tests in mathematics. The original standards were written with the intention of addressing the “inch deep and mile wide” curricula that each state had at that time. It’s aim was to provide greater focus to key content in the years where it mattered most, while also freeing up teachers’ time to address that refocus by removing the less essential content. Unfortunately, they missed the mark. Although ACARA affirms that the current standards are “consistent with some of the best curricula internationally,” we are still using valuable teaching hours in the early grades to address less relevant topics, such as probability. Incidentally, our economic peers in Singapore, Finland, and the USA all omitted probability from the early years of their primary curricula long ago. Read more
Professor Kim Beswick from the University of New South Wales discusses her research into Mathematics success and engagement at the secondary level, highlighting the importance of teaching low attainers to act like high attainers, and learn in the same ways that successful learners learn.
Voiceless has released its latest classroom resource suite ‘Facts and Fishes’, providing scientifically backed information on fish sentience and addressing many of the misconceptions surrounding fish capabilities and intelligence.
As part of a new UNSW Sydney study, secondary students were introduced to the study of astrobiology to demonstrate “how science is done outside of a classroom”, with results showing it helped to instil a more accurate view of the nature of science: one that included the use of creativity and imagination.
STEM expert Dr Kathy Smith, from Monash University, discusses the challenges of STEM education and how we can learn from the work currently being done by primary teachers.