Now showing 1 - 10 of 49
  • Publication
    “We’ve just lost six weeks of teaching”: Mathematics teachers’ feedback on CBAs in problem-solving – Investigating the implementation
    (Dublin City University, 2022-06-25) ;
    This research investigates post-primary mathematics teachers’ concerns and feedback around problem-solving and the associated classroom-based assessment (CBA), following significant curriculum reform. Based on a framework of concerns (Hall et al., 1977), semi-structured interviews were conducted with 16 mathematics teachers from across Ireland, representing a range of teaching experiences and school contexts. Initial findings suggest that many teachers feel constrained in attempting any change to their traditional classroom practice due to a lack of confidence and resources in implementing problem-solving in the classroom. Furthermore, teachers directly associate the concentrated nature of the curriculum content and the associated time pressures to a lack of meaningful engagement with the CBA. Teachers’ feedback also emphasises the desire to collaborate with other teachers, both in considering approaches and materials but also in building confidence in their own practice.
  • Publication
    It's time to rethink the Leaving Cert - points race and educational biases should be consigned to history
    Education is not about grades; it is about preparing our young people for the challenges they will meet in the world around them. We can incorporate other ways of assessing learning that truly reflects what students know and can do that will be fair, equitable and demonstrative of their experiencesoutside of school.
  • Publication
    What Knowledge do Teachers use in Lesson Study? A focus on Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching and Levels of Teacher Activity
    This chapter combines the frameworks of Ball, Thames, and Phelps (J Teach Educ 59:389–407, 2008) and Margolinas, Coulange, and Bessot (Educ Stud Math 59:205–234, 2005) to demonstrate the elements of subject and pedagogical content knowledge utilized at varying levels of teacher activity in a cycle of lesson study. Qualitative data generated in a mathematics-based lesson study, conducted with eight primary school teachers in Switzerland, is analyzed and visualizations of the knowledge occurring at each phase of lesson study are provided. This fine-grained analysis of the mathematical knowledge incorporated by teachers in lesson study demonstrates that all forms of Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching, at each level of teacher activity, can occur across a cycle. In addition, the paper provides evidence that phases of lesson study do not necessarily occur in succession but can rather take place in a confluence of teachers’ work across a full cycle.
  • Publication
    Exploring the prevalence of structured problem solving in research lessons: a post-intervention study from Ireland
    (European Society for Research in Mathematics Education (ERME), 2023-07-14) ; ; ;
    The purpose of this research was to investigate the incorporation of Structured Problem Solving in a Lesson Study initiative in Ireland. Since 2014, an annual average of 150 post primary mathematics teachers across 83 schools have participated in Lesson Study as a form of professional development. This has resulted in a published bank of research lesson plans, 145 of which were included in this research and analysed based on a framework of Structured Problem Solving. The results revealed strengths (e.g. students presenting their solutions) and weaknesses (e.g. teachers summarising lesson content) in the research lesson plans. The findings provide key insights for professional development regarding the incorporation of Structured Problem Solving in mathematics lessons and include recommendations for further research in this field.
  • Publication
    Maths Sparks: Promoting student engagement and developing skills in presentation, communication and team-work
    (UCD Access & Lifelong Learning, 2017-09-06) ;
    Two prominent concerns of mathematics education at third level are: improving the engagement of undergraduate students who have chosen to study mathematics and developing these students’ communication skills. Maths Sparks: Problem Solving Workshops is a mathematics enrichment programme where workshops are designed by undergraduate students and presented to post-primary pupils. This programme is run by the UCD School of Mathematics & Statistics and is funded and supported by Science Foundation Ireland and UCD Access & Lifelong Learning. Undergraduate students apply to volunteer in the programme, which is run over the course of one semester, with the opportunity to develop their skills of designing a mathematics workshop, working in a team, facilitating mathematical learning, presenting to a large audience and communicating their knowledge of mathematics. Each two-hour workshop is designed by a group of two to three students, under the guidance of academic staff in the UCD School of Mathematics & Statistics, and is presented as part of a series of workshops to senior post-primary pupils.
  • Publication
    Supporting teachers to engage with Structured Problem Solving in their Junior Cycle classrooms –developing Educative Curriculum Materials for use with Lesson Study
    Successive curriculum reforms in Ireland have led to an increased emphasis on problem-solving approaches to teaching mathematics. However, there is little research to suggest that classroom practices have changed significantly. In this paper we outline the design of a set of Educative Curriculum Materials (ECMs) as part of a professional development intervention, which aims to support teachers to incorporate Structured Problem Solving into their classroom practice. These materials are designed to be used in Lesson Study as part of a professional development intervention. We begin by describing Structured Problem Solving and the challenge it poses for teachers, before outlining the role professional development, and specifically ECMs, can play in supporting teachers with this approach. Finally we highlight some key features of the ECMs currently being developed.
  • Publication
    Developing Problem-solving Approaches to Teaching: Theory and Practice
    George Polya’s book, How to solve it (1945), is likely to have been one of the first books to focus on building students’ skills as problem solvers. Polya, a Hungarian professor of mathematics, realised that it was not sufficient that his students knew their mathematical facts--they also needed to have a relational understanding of the subject in order to use mathematics as a tool. While Polya’s book has provided much food for thought for mathematics educators at all levels throughout the decades, the legacy of his writing is in defining a heuristic or framework for students to solve problems.
  • Publication
    ‘Bottoms up’: A case study on integrating public engagement within a university culture
    This study tracks the integration of public engagement within the systems, structures and culture of a university in Ireland. Public engagement, as an activity of research institutes, is gaining increased attention from policy and funding sources across Europe. However, little has been heard on the processes and practices which bring public engagement to the fore of conversations and activities in such institutions. In this practice case study, we track the evolution of a community of practice of public engagement in an Irish university over three years, through a bottom-up approach taken by a small group of faculty and staff, and organized through collective leadership to maintain momentum over the time period. With the support of key leadership figures, who provided top-down financial and structural support, we trace the narrative of defining public engagement within the university through stakeholder workshops, recording relevant activities with an institution-wide census, updating university public engagement reporting metrics, and establishing an active community of practice. Four key learnings are identified from this collective narrative: (1) the need for patience in attempting to instigate change within an institution; (2) the importance of establishing a shared understanding; (3) the importance of enacting collective leadership as a community; and (4) the necessity of leadership support with grass-roots activity. Reflection on these learnings suggests that the embedding of public engagement in institutions requires both personal and institutional investment.
  • Publication
    Maths Sparks engagement programme: investigating the impact on under-privileged pupils’ attitudes towards mathematics
    In this paper we explore the attitudes of under-privileged secondary school pupils in Ireland towards mathematics and investigate the impact of attending a 4-week engagement programme on these attitudes. The pupils involved in this research attended schools recognized by the Department of Education & Skills as socio-economically deprived. Pupils attending these schools, known as Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools (DEIS), are 40% less likely than their counterparts in non-DEIS schools to pursue mathematics at a higher level in state examinations (Smyth, E., Mccoy, S. & Kingston, G., 2015, Learning From the Evaluation of DEIS. Dublin: Economic and Social Research Institute). However, little research has reported on these pupils’ experiences of and attitudes towards mathematics at senior secondary level. An engagement programme entitled ‘Maths Sparks’ was purposefully designed for secondary pupils from DEIS schools, with the aim of positively influencing their attitudes towards and confidence in mathematics. The programme consisted of weekly out-of-school workshops exploring extra-curricular mathematics topics, designed and delivered by undergraduate mathematics students. Questionnaires were utilized to evaluate pupils’ attitudes towards mathematics before and after their participation in the programme. Despite its relatively short time frame, qualitative and quantitative analysis suggests an increase in participating pupils’ attitudes towards, enjoyment of and self-confidence in mathematics due to their participation in the programme. Findings also suggest that while these pupils liked the subject of mathematics, their experience of learning the subject in school was not always positive and was sometimes hindered by the absence of higher-level mathematics as an option in school. The high-stakes examination content and teachers’ beliefs in the ability of their students also sometimes negatively impacted learners’ intentions to pursue mathematics at a higher level. Findings suggest that longitudinal mathematics engagement programmes, which focus on problem solving, involve extra-curricular mathematical concepts and are presented by undergraduate mathematics students, may provide a valuable way of positively impacting pupils’ intentions to pursue the subject.
      113Scopus© Citations 4
  • Publication
    Lesson Study
    (Routledge, 2022-10-13)
    In this chapter, Lesson Study (LS) is introduced as a model of professional development, which provides teachers with an opportunity to research their own practice with a view to improving students’ learning. LS is growing in prominence worldwide, particularly in STEM education. In this research, a group of post-primary Mathematics teachers participated in LS during their implementation of a revised curriculum. Their work was analysed utilising a framework of Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching (Ball, Thames, & Phelps, 2008) and findings demonstrate a prominence of knowledge specific to teaching mathematical content (i.e. specialised and pedagogical content knowledge) employed by teachers during LS.