Kildare and Wicklow ETB Newsletter Issue 10 Learn, Work, Live - Page 43

Coláiste Chill Mhantáin

Project Maths – Lesson Study 2016/2017

In October of last year, the Project Maths Development Team held a three day training course for maths teachers across the country that were interested in participating in lesson study. Lesson study, a model of Japanese origin, is a model that provides teachers with a structure within which they can collaborate and engage with new pedagogical practices encouraged as part of the Project Maths initiative.

Three teachers from Coláiste Chill Mhantáin (Mariosa O’ Callaghan, Mary Kilgallen & Natasha Smyth) and one teacher from Dominican College Wicklow (Kathyrn Fox) volunteered to participate in this research programme for 2016/17. Our main aims were: 1. To encourage students to engage in more complex higher – level tasks. 2. To appreciate that mathematics can be used to solve real world problems. 3. To develop a positive disposition towards problem solving. It was noted in the first meeting that students were often reticent in engaging with the subject of Mathematics and their participation in class can be often limited as a result of the constant fear of giving an incorrect answer.

The PISA results were also taken into consideration and we were all quite astonished that Space and Shape was an area that students in Ireland found quite difficult. A third year higher level maths group from Coláiste Chill Mhantáin were used for the study.The task which was posed to them was in relation to solving problems consisting of both 3D and 2D shapes; an area noted as one of the PISA Mathematical content areas.

All of our findings were then presented to a number of Maths teachers in Maynooth University on Saturday the 4th of March at the Annual Maths Counts Conference. Overall, this experience was hugely beneficialto us all. As teachers, we felt that we had an improved understanding of facilitating student group work, incorporating more communication within our classrooms and encouraging students to engage in problem solving practices. This is a model of professional development which holds great potential as a structure within which teachers can enjoy, learn from and reflect on their practices of teaching mathematics.