Michelle Tregoning, a leader mathematics professional learning for the NSW Mathematics Strategy believes that ‘Mathematics as a subject is undergoing a period similar to an 'identity crisis' and urged the fellow educators to expand the perspectives about the subject so all students can be and feel successful at mathematics.
She presented her ideas while speaking with Secretary Mark Scott on the Every Student Podcast where she discussed the department's approach to help the students develop mathematical skills along with other important skills on the agenda.
‘There is a tricky emotional space around mathematics because [historically] you are either good at mathematics because you are the first person to the right answer, or you’re bad at mathematics because you’re not the first person to the right answer’, Ms Tregoning said.
As per the findings in a research conducted by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 'the conceptual understanding was an important element of a student’s learning and understanding of maths'.
There are several steps to developing the desired mathematical skills and aspiration for students and the first one is ‘Building conceptual understanding’. There are several challenges at play here and Embracing cognitive challenge and student engagement with maths are a few of them to name.
‘We can talk about mathematics when we are hanging the clothes out on the line or when we are preparing lunches in the morning. It is everywhere and it is incredibly beautiful and creative,’ She said.