Seasons Greetings from the Cambridge Mathematics team!
I’m writing this from the airport in Melbourne en route to Singapore. I’ve had a fascinating week here keynoting at the Maths Association of Victoria conference, and meeting key policy makers and curriculum, assessment and resource designers. MAV18 is a massive feat of organisation with 1500 teachers, researchers and policy makers coming together to share their enthusiasm for learning and teaching mathematics - and it happens every year.
There were many excellent sessions but for me the highlight was hearing Eddie Woo speak about mathematics in his own classroom. His talk to a full lecture theatre was charismatic and impressive and even more so because he related everything to his day job of classroom teacher. Eddie has won numerous national and international teaching prizes including that of Australian Local Hero, all of which recognise his work in enthusiastically promoting mathematics as real, connected and, in his words, awesome. If you haven't heard of him, do check him out on WooTube.
In his presentation, Eddie made us all reflect both on how and why we teach the maths we teach. This question is of particular interest to the Cambridge Maths team. Of course there is a common core of basic content in all maths curricula but quite a bit of the later maths content could be said to be there for historical reasons. Eddie’s talk resonated with the internal discussions we have been having about whether what we teach now is what we should be teaching, whether some content could be redundant and be removed in favour of new and more relevant content that has perhaps not yet figured in any curriculum.
Some of that discussion overlaps with our current work on the place of algebra in our Framework. We’ve had a most interesting few months exploring ideas with impressive and informed colleagues both here and abroad, and think we are getting close to a solution which builds on research and work already done but offers something a little different from the usual progression of algebraic manipulation.
And so ends the year. There is more news below and an introduction to Ray and Dom. In the meantime we wish our friends and colleagues best wishes for the festive season and hope wherever you are in the world that 2019 will be kind to you