Mathematics Teachers Conference 2021
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8:00 to 8:30 Opening and Presentation of Excellence in Mathematics Teaching Award
8:30 to 9:30 Lecture 1 (Plenary)
Dr James Tanton
9:30 to 9:40 Break
Primary Track Secondary Track JC Track
9:40 to 10:40 Lecture 2:
Dr John West
Lecture 3:
Prof Yoshinori Shimizu
Lecture 4:
Prof Peter Liljedahl
10:40 to 10:55 Break
10:55 to 11:55 Lecture 5:
Prof Berinderjeet Kaur
Lecture 6:
Prof Lee Ngan Hoe
Lecture 7:
Prof Toh Tin Lam
11:55 to 12:00 Closing

Lecture 1 (Plenary): 8:30 - 9:30
Explode your Mind with Exploding Dots: Curriculum Mathematics Transformed for Teaching 21st-Century Skills
Dr James Tanton, USA

It's a global phenomenon in mathematics! Over 6 million people – students, educators, math enthusiasts from over 170 countries and territories across the planet are united by the stunning wonder of a common piece of school mathematics. It’s the story of Exploding Dots. Let me share this mind-blowing experience with you too. Come see the school mathematics you thought you knew so well in astounding new light. Witness curriculum mathematics as a portal to human joy, wonder, and awe – and as 21st-century pedagogy.

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Dr James Tanton earned his PhD in mathematics from Princeton University. He is an author, a consultant, and ambassador for the Mathematical Association of America in Washington D.C., chair of the Advisory Council for the National Museum of Mathematics, and a founder of the Global Math Project, an initiative to transform the entire world’s perception of what mathematics can, and should, be. This program has now reached over 6 million students and teachers across the planet. James has taught mathematics both at university and high-school institutions. He advises on curriculum, consults with teachers, and gives demonstration classes, lectures, and professional development sessions across the globe. James is also a recipient of a Joint Policy Board for Mathematics communication award for 2020.

Lecture 2 (Primary Track): 9:40 - 10:40
Motivating, Maintaining, and Maturing
Dr John West, Australia

Mathematical problems arise in almost every aspect of students’ lives, and mathematical proficiency is now almost universally accepted as an essential precursor of future success. Regrettably, it seems few Australian students leave school with an appreciation of the power of mathematical reasoning, or the confidence and willingness to apply it as a problem-solving tool. The reality is that for many students, learning mathematics has ceased to be a joyful activity. There are several factors that may have contributed to this situation in Australia. These include challenges such as: teachers working out-of-field, geographical isolation, inconsistent implementation of the Australian Curriculum across states, limited access to professional learning, and the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN). This presentation will explore ways in which we can recapture the joy of learning (and teaching) mathematics and the invaluable lessons Australian teachers learned from the inaugural AAMT Singapore Study Tour.

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Dr John West has worked as a mathematics teacher and Lecturer in Mathematics Education at Edith Cowan University and The University of Western Australia. John currently serves as President of the Mathematical Association of Western Australia (MAWA), and a Council member of The Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers (AAMT). John’s first book, Problem Solving in Primary Mathematics, was published in 2017. Foundations of Primary Mathematics Education (Allen & Unwin) followed in 2019, and John was a contributing author on Wiley’s Helping Children Learn Mathematics (3rd Australian Edition). John is currently employed as an numeracy consultant by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA).

Lecture 3 (Secondary Track): 9:40 - 10:40
Tinkering with the Problem: Key Experience in Mathematical Activities with Joy of Learning
Prof Yoshinori Shimizu, Tsukuba University, Japan

In mathematics classrooms, teachers and students alike assume that problems in mathematics are to be presented and simply there just like a mountain to be climbed. However, authentic mathematical activities include key experiences of finding alternative solutions, exploring and changing the conditions of the problem itself, and even asking where does the problem come from. Thus, analyzing not only the answer to the problem but also the problem itself is one of the important activities in mathematical problem solving. “Analyzing answers, problems, and methods” is listed as the fourth in “mathematical habits of mind” (e.g. Goldenberg, et al., 2003). In this lecture, after overviewing the concept and discussion of mathematical habits of mind, the importance of viewing and examining problems from multiple perspectives is argued. A particular attention is given to the act of tinkering with the problem with a hope that students in mathematics classrooms work on mathematical problems just like Tinkerbell. Then, the Japanese approach to teaching mathematics through problem solving is overviewed with a description of typical organization of mathematics lessons. Examples of problems and students' solutions to them are shared to show how teachers analyze the alternative solutions for achieving their goal of teaching mathematics.

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Professor Yoshinori Shimizu, Ph. D, is a mathematics educator who works at Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences of University of Tsukuba, one of the major research institutions in education in Japan. He serves as the chair of Doctoral Program in Education. His primary interests include international comparative study on student assessment and mathematics classrooms. He is one of the founders of Learner’s Perspective Study (LPS), a sixteen countries comparative study on mathematics classrooms and has been the Japanese team leader of the project. He is the president of Japan Society of Mathematical Education (JSME). He was the chair of the national committee for the national curriculum guidelines for elementary school mathematics released in 2017 and implemented since 2020.

Lecture 4 (Junior College Track): 9:40 - 10:40
Building Thinking Classroom
Prof Peter Liljedahl, Simon Fraser University, Canada

Much of how classrooms look and much of what happens in them today is guided by institutional norms laid down at the inception of an industrial-age model of public education. These norms have enabled a culture of teaching and learning that is often devoid of student thinking. In this session I present some of the results of over 15 years of research into how teachers can transform their classrooms from a space where students mimic to where students think. The practices discussed will intertwine with, and make extensive references to, the recently published book, Building Thinking Classrooms in Mathematics (Grades K-12): 14 Teaching Practices for Enhancing Learning.

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Dr Peter Liljedahl is a Professor of Mathematics Education in the Faculty of Education. He is the former president of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (PME) and the current president of the Canadian Mathematics Education Study Group (CMESG). Peter is a former high school mathematics teacher who has kept his research interest and activities close to the classroom. He consults regularly with teachers, schools, school districts, and ministries of education on issues of teaching and learning, problem solving, assessment, and numeracy.

Lecture 5 (Primary Track): 10:55 - 11:55
The sum of the parts is greater than the whole!
Prof Berinderjeet Kaur, NIE, Singapore

Knowledge generated by a group of individuals often exceed the sum total of the knowledge possessed by the individuals at the onset of an activity. This is so as the rich interactions between individuals generate ‘new’ knowledge. Meaningful activities are not only fun-filled but also motivating. They go beyond surface learning for pupils and engage them in constructing mathematical knowledge for themselves. The lecture will draw on specific examples and demonstrate how ‘young minds’ may be captivated to reason and communicate their thinking!

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Professor Berinderjeet Kaur is a Professor of Mathematics Education at the National Institute of Education in Singapore. Her primary research interests are in the area of classroom pedagogy of mathematics teachers and comparative studies in mathematics education. She has been involved in numerous international studies of Mathematics Education and was the Mathematics Consultant to TIMSS 2011. She is also a member of the MEG (Mathematics Expert Group) for PISA 2015. As the President of the Association of Mathematics Educators (AME) from 2004-2010, she has also been actively involved in the professional development of mathematics teachers in Singapore and is the founding chairperson of Mathematics Teachers’ Conferences that started in 2005 and the founding editor of the AME Yearbook series that started in 2009. She was awarded the Public Administration Medal by the President of Singapore in 2006.

Lecture 6 (Secondary Track): 10:55 - 11:55
Discovering the Joy of Learning Mathematics Through a Constructivist Approach: Developing Creators and Consumers of Mathematics
Prof Lee Ngan Hoe, NIE, Singapore

This keynote will examine problem solving in the mathematics classrooms from the perspective of teaching via/through problem solving using the Constructivist Learning Design (CLD). The talk will illustrate through the use a CLD package that has been employed in Singapore Mathematics classrooms how CLD could help to promote the development of students as not only effective consumers but also effective creators of mathematics. Through the lens of students’ work, a discussion would also be made on how such a learning design motivate students to be curious about mathematics, delighted by mathematical possibilities, and excited to contribute mathematically. At the same time, the rigor of the mathematics learnt will be examined and viewed in particular from the perspective of Big Ideas.

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Dr Lee Ngan Hoe is an Associate Professor at the Mathematics and Mathematics Education Academic Group as well as the Office of Education Research in the National Institute of Education (NIE), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. At NIE, he teaches pre- and in-service courses as well as graduate courses in mathematics education and supervises postgraduate students pursuing Masters, EdD and PhD degrees. His publication and research interests include the teaching and learning of mathematics at all levels – primary, secondary, pre-university, as well as adult education, covering areas such as mathematics curriculum development, metacognition and mathematical problem solving / modelling, productive failure and constructivism in mathematics education, technology and mathematics education, and textbooks and mathematics education.

Lecture 7 (Junior College Track): 10:55-11:55
Infusing Problem Solving into Teaching A Level Mathematics
Prof Toh Tin Lam, NIE, Singapore

Problem Solving has been the heart of the Singapore mathematics curriculum but evidence shows that it has not been much emphasized in the A-Levels. In this lecture, I will discuss with examples from the A-Level curriculum how teachers could infuse problem solving into their mathematics instruction by making use of the syllabus content. Most importantly, problem solving can be introduced in an interesting way for the students.

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Dr Toh Tin Lam is an Associate Professor and currently the Deputy Head of the Mathematics and Mathematics Academic Group of the National Institute of Education. He has a PhD in Mathematics from the National University of Singapore. He conducts research in both Mathematics and Mathematics Education, and publishes in international refereed journals in both areas.