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Scitech's Lighthouse Maths teacher shares student results

Hollywood Primary School Year 4 Teacher Ryan Shaw talks about his experiences of implementing the Powerful Problem-Solving approach to maths in his classroom.

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Lighthouse Maths is a year-long professional learning program delivered by Scitech in partnership with Chevron Australia, offering primary school teachers a toolkit in the Powerful Problem-Solving approach to maths.

Participants of this year’s program recently met at Scitech for the midway meeting to share their experiences and student achievements so far, including Hollywood Primary School Year 4 Teacher Ryan Shaw who said he had enjoyed the opportunity to network with teachers from around Perth.

“This cross-pollination doesn’t happen enough in the industry and through the program I have been able to engage in many meaningful maths related discussions.”

The Powerful Problem-Solving approach focuses on collaboration and teamwork, with students working on maths problems together in groups using whiteboards.

When comparing the first Powerful Problem-Solving activity he taught in his class to the most recent, Ryan said it was clear to see the impact the program had made.

“My students are better collaborators and more willing to listen to the ideas of others. They are beginning to work methodically, slowing down and thinking deeply about the question at hand. They are also developing their resilience to the struggle of not knowing the answer and realising that many problems have many possible answers, an understanding that better reflects real world mathematical problems.”

Hollywood Primary School Year 4 Teacher presenting at the Lighthouse Maths 2023 midway meeting.

A Powerful Problem-Solving maths lesson ends with the students coming together to share their process with the other groups. Ryan said this focus on the journey to the answer, rather than the answer itself, has been a highlight of the program.

“It has allowed a wide selection of my students to have their moment in the spotlight. I am able to select students who usually don’t perceive themselves as ‘mathematicians’. They then explain to the class their mathematical understanding or strategy, which has had a lasting impact on their sense of self.”

Throughout the year, participants are guided by Lighthouse Maths coaches, teachers who have previously done the program, through coaching sessions and workshops to provide hands-on peer support.

“The structure of the peer coaching sessions is really valuable. I was able to apply the theory from the modules in my own way, and then receive valuable feedback immediately afterwards. This feedback then informed my future lessons and will help to guide the coaching I provide other staff at Hollywood Primary School.”

Submit your application for the 2024 Lighthouse Maths program here. Participants will be finalised in Term 4, 2023.

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