This is not a scam! But it is a shameless cross-promotion! I’ve been a member of MANSW (The Mathematical Association of NSW) for most of my teaching career. Even before I was really into mathematics as an area of passion, I joined MANSW. It was an opportunity to learn more about mathematics education and mathematics teaching from learned others. The way it all began was attending their annual conference, if you became a member you got a discount on the conference (FYI this is still the case!). It was amazing. The workshops and keynotes provided much needed advice and ideas for me as an early career teacher. But I think the best part was the community. Meeting other teachers in similar situations as myself as well as those with far more knowledge and experience, and being welcomed in like part of a big ‘mathsy’ family was a new experience for me.
When I first joined there was only one annual conference, but soon the PAM K-8 conference came into existence and this definitely levelled up my PL. This conference was specifically targeted towards primary teachers. Attending these conferences really fuelled my passion for mathematics and brought together research in the field as well as classroom examples. In recent years the K-8 conference has expanded to include early childhood becoming the Pre K-8 conference and has also expanded to be a two-day conference that includes a masterclass day.
In the past few years I’ve written blogs reflecting on these conferences: Getting reasoning right: Reflections on PAM conference 2019, Noticing the mathematics: Making the connections 2021 Part 1, and Noticing the mathematics: Making the connections 2021 Part 2. And now I’m looking forward to both presenting and attending this year’s conference in March (registration details here). Some of the key messages I’ve taken from these conferences include:
- how an investigation grows with students’ interest, ability, and engagement
- that story is an important part of ‘hooking’ students into maths
- that a lesson is never finished
- how to guide a lesson without over-instructing
- effective programming involves teachers being active prior, during and after the lesson in planning (and being ready for) students’ responses
- students need to study exemplars and models to prompt further thinking
- learning through discovery
- the importance of gesture and other alternate representations
- big ideas take a while to gestate
- the literacies of mathematics that impact reasoning
- and so many more!
Joining MANSW to become part of a maths community is not just about the conferences, to me it’s part of who I am as a teacher, learner, leader, and academic. Here are a few benefits:
- talking to and asking questions of like-minded people
- hearing about current research in mathematics content and pedagogy at events
- meeting with teachers on a regular basis to learn from each other (as part of the special interest groups or webinars)
- being part of a maths community (both in the online area and in person)
- having access to classroom research through journals
- having opportunities to share my own practice with others
- keeping up-to-date with current curriculum issues and being advocated for
- hearing from leading researchers in Australia (and NSW specifically)
- contributing to the community
- connecting with pre-service and in-service teachers across early childhood, primary and secondary
It is part of my ‘teacher’ identity. In another previous blog Keeping up with the current Part 2, I mentioned becoming a member of your local or national association. And this is just the start! So I encourage you to join us! become part of the community. And the upcoming PAM conference is perfect place to start. See you there!