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Welcome back to the blog!

Shyam Drury looks back on the Alcoa Champions of Maths program journey, now in its third and final year.

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Welcome back to the blog everyone!

We are in our third and final year of Alcoa Champions of Maths, and what a journey it has been! In the first year, we took a big step forward from our previous work which focused on developing student engagement, by drawing on research and the advice of academics to pull together a program of professional learning. Using a problem-based approach, the tailored program taught teachers different methods of teaching by targeting conceptual connections, collaborative learning, and discussion. We combined these several complimentary approaches and philosophies into a single coherent system for designing and delivering problem-solving lessons. And we came to call the system Powerful Problem-Solving. We trained eight teachers in this approach and saw huge improvements in the culture, attitudes and conceptual understanding of their classes.

In the second year, we took the same approach by making refinements and streamlining the process of professional learning. Several days ahead of the lesson, we integrated the use of video conferencing for pre-lesson discussions to give teachers time to improve their plans. This also gave us ample time during classroom visits to deliver lessons and debrief. In 2020, we applied for and won the DMIRS Award for Best Community Partnership.

The Alcoa Maths Enrichment Program also includes two other projects: Real World Maths and Portland Maths Network. The Real World Maths program continues to run alongside the Alcoa Champions of Maths program, working with other schools just for a single term, introducing a project-based approach to learning mathematics. The Portland Maths Network supports a community of practice in Portland, Victoria. Due to COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria and WA, this program was suspended during 2020, but we had our first virtual meeting this term and have plans to implement classroom support later in the year.

In 2021, we launched Lighthouse Maths, a new program that works with a much larger group of teachers, upskilling previous participants to coach. We now have 40 teachers currently learning the Powerful Problem-Solving process. Throughout the upcoming blogs, you will hear from the teachers currently participating in the 2021 Alcoa Champions of Maths program. They will be highlighting how they have been transforming their maths classroom by using the Powerful Problem-Solving process.

Keep thinking and enjoy the struggle!


Find out more about the Alcoa Maths Enrichment Program.

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