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Scitech teacher program lights the way for primary school maths

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Scitech teacher program lights the way for primary school maths

The launch of the 2022 Lighthouse Maths Program, delivered by Scitech with support from Chevron Australia, began this term in more than 15 schools around the Metropolitan area.

This ground-breaking approach to teaching mathematics is a professional learning program for primary school teachers that has a positive and direct impact on teacher confidence and capabilities which are critical drivers to successful student outcomes.

While traditional mathematics education favours memorisation, the Lighthouse Maths program is a reasoning and problem solving-based approach that enables students to develop an understanding of how they reached a solution rather than learn a method.

“Lighthouse Maths provides a unique opportunity for teachers and students to work together for deep understanding of mathematics by teachers preparing a single challenging task for students to work on, encouraging collaboration among students, and preparing powerful questions and prompts for potent discussions.” says Scitech Professional Learning Consultant Shyam Drury.

He says that once teachers complete the program, they are able to upskill their colleagues and take a leadership role in their own school communities.

“Teachers learn from other teachers, it is authentic and practical. By upskilling teachers to coach others, we deepen the expertise of these teachers in excellent mathematics teaching.”

First Year Results

In its pilot year in 2021, Chevron’s Lighthouse Maths was delivered in 16 Perth metropolitan schools to 32 teachers with outstanding results including a 28% increase in teacher confidence in teaching problem solving maths and nearly a 30% increase in student engagement in maths lessons.

This was further supported by student performance when based on comparison to PAT-M testing.  Students who were taught the problem-solving approach were found to be on average of 7 months ahead in their maths learning compared to classes undertaking traditional methods of maths teaching.

Primary school teacher Teegan Parry participated in the program last year and returns this year as a Lighthouse Maths coach.  She says this powerful program allows her to fully appreciate students learning maths regardless of their abilities.

“Witnessing my students’ many moments of success, especially after engaging in productive struggle, is so rewarding.  They have responded incredibly positively in the Lighthouse Maths approach, fully seizing the chance to work collaboratively, building on maths talk and challenging each other’s working out in rich teacher-led discussions.”

“I have seen first-hand a positive shift in how my students engage with problem-solving; their self-esteem, attendance, attitudes and conceptual mathematical understandings have significantly increased.”

Matthew Johnson, Chevron Australia Technology Manager says that Chevron’s continuing partnership with Scitech will now allow for the delivery of the Lighthouse Maths Program for a further three years.

“Maths and problem-solving skills are essential to our modern life, from unlocking new technologies to solving challenges that will enable us to realise a global lower carbon future. Chevron is proud to work alongside with Scitech to power the next generation of problem solvers through STEM education programs like Lighthouse Maths.”

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