Mathematics students getting it right

FOUR Launceston-based students representing the past, present and future of education spoke at a national mathematics teaching conference at the University of Tasmania yesterday.

The two-day conference at Newnham campus is the first for the two-year Commonwealth-funded CEMENT Project - Culture of Evidence-based Practice in Teacher Preparation for Mathematics Training - that involves seven universities.

Associate Professor Kim Beswick, of the university's faculty of education, said the aim was to look at the preparation to teach mathematics of mainly primary school teachers before they started their careers.

She said the aim of the conference was to discuss their findings but also to extend it to include other educators from different subject areas and see how the same methods could be used in those areas.

``We're interested in improving our courses and thinking about ways that we can improve these teachers' abilities to teach maths,'' Professor Beswick said.

``So we're interested in their own understanding of mathematics, their confidence about teaching maths and also what they know about how to teach maths, because it's a bit different from knowing how to do the maths themselves.''

She said the two students from Launceston City Campus, the university PhD candidate and a first-year teacher were invited to give their opinion on how they had been taught and the teaching methods that had helped them best.

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