Last week, our system held its inaugural secondary Mathematics conference with the focus on teachers as researchers. Along with school and system leaders, secondary mathematics teachers, we also had our academic partner, Emeritus Professor Peter Sullivan from Monash University along with Sue Wilson from the Australian Catholic University (ACT campus) and Professor Kathryn Holmes from Western Sydney University attend.
Teachers as Researchers is an extension of our English Mathematics Stage 4 (EM4) program focused on increasing the knowledge and skills of secondary teachers with the aim of extending all learners within a positive and rich (mathematical) learning environments. Each of the 12 schools who participated in Cohort 1 presented workshops on pedagogical practices that are making a visible difference.
As I said in my welcome address at the conference, nothing will mark the difference between industrial and contemporary teaching practice more than the concept of teachers continually improving their practice through the process of disciplined inquiry. This applies across pre to post schooling and to every teacher no matter what stage of their career.
If the concept of teachers as researchers is to become embedded within the profession, then it needs the support of systems and governments to create available resources to encourage innovative practices especially around the teaching of STEM subjects.
I had the opportunity of chatting briefly to Professor Sullivan at the conference last week. I am not alone in saying that it has been a privilege to have someone of his calibre working with us on transforming the way maths is understood and taught in schools.
We know that partnerships are critical in leveraging learning. This relationship shows how new ways of thinking about the craft of teaching can lead into exciting and innovative practice.