What's happening in mathematics professional learning?

Year: 2016

Author: Reaburn, Robyn, Kilpatrick, Sue, Beswick, Kim, Fraser, Sharon

Type of paper: Refereed paper

The project, Towards Education Mathematics Professionals Encompassing Science and Technology (TEMPEST), examines the extent and quality of professional learning (PL) opportunities for teachers of mathematics. In recent years the teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) has become a focus of the Australian Government as these subjects are seen as essential to the future of the Australian economy. In addition, it is a professional requirement that teachers undergo PL. It is essential therefore, that PL is of the highest quality, especially as many teachers of mathematics are not mathematics specialists. One aim of the TEMPEST project is to provide a quality framework that can ensure that any PL that is offered is of the highest standard. Before the development of this framework, over 200 people who deliver, design or facilitate PL for teachers of mathematics were surveyed to determine the current situation of mathematics PL in Australia. This paper provides a summary and analysis of their responses. These data include a description of current PL including the year level focus, the format (one-day workshop, weekly sessions for example) and the type of teacher that is targeted. The paper reports gaps in the current PL offered throughout the country. Some gaps were identified by the expert respondents, while others emerged from analysis of the survey data. Gaps are reported in terms of target teacher audience, year level focus, location and format of PL.