Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Questions (279)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

279. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he has offered professional development to teachers who want to improve their mathematical knowledge; and his plans to rectify same. [23009/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Project Maths emphasises student understanding of mathematical concepts and the use of contexts and applications that enable students to relate Mathematics to their everyday experience.

The curriculum has been phased in over a number of years. In tandem with the roll-out, a comprehensive programme of professional development has been provided for all teachers of mathematics by the Project Maths Development Team (PMDT). To date, ten workshops have been offered to all maths teachers on a rolling basis as each strand of the curriculum was implemented. The workshops have encouraged teachers to adapt teaching strategies appropriate to the various curriculum strands and to developing student skills in critical areas such as problem solving. Teachers have also had opportunities to engage with additional CPD in the form of modular courses on areas of particular interest, for example, the use of ICT in maths teaching, as well as a national conference.

In addition, Project Maths is also supported by the Professional Diploma in Mathematics for Teaching, a blended learning, two year part-time programme. The programme assists 'out-of-field' teachers to acquire the extensive and complex integrated knowledge base including mathematical and pedagogical knowledge that is necessary for effective mathematics teaching at post-primary level with special reference to Project Maths. Since September 2012 it has been made available nationwide free of charge to improve the skills of certain maths teachers at post-primary level.

Provision of the course is led by the National Centre for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching & Learning (NCE-MSTL), based in the University of Limerick (UL), and it will be accredited jointly by the UL and NUI Galway through their strategic alliance.

Some 600 teachers have participated in the programme so far and a further intake is planned for 2014.