BCE’s partnership with Monash University makes a ‘perfect square’


©Brisbane Catholic Education (2024).

When it comes to teaching and learning mathematics, BCE and Monash University make a ‘perfect square.'
Today, on Valentine’s Day, 18 BCE schools have demonstrated their ‘love’ of Mathematics by joining a program run by Monash University’s Dr James Russo and Jane Hubbard to improve the teaching and learning of Mathematics for primary school students.  
The program, which was piloted last year to 15 BCE schools and was relaunched today, encourages students to work through challenging Mathematics problems and solutions independently using an inquiry approach.  
St John’s Nambour Learning Leader Carly Millichap said since embarking on this professional learning partnership, it had resulted in a significant change in their teaching and learning of Mathematics. She said their school’s participation has meant teachers were able to assume the role of instructional leaders in their school.   
“More than one visitor to our school has commented that they ‘love’ the way Maths is thought of and taught in our school - and the engagement and confidence of the students is the best measure of this,” Carly said.  
“All of this stems directly from the involvement with James and Jane and the professional learning that has occurred as a result.” 
All Saints Primary School Albany Creek teacher Erica Cosson, who participated last year, said the program had been the most valuable professional development opportunity she had experienced throughout her teaching career.  
“Very rarely do we get the opportunity as teachers to have nine days of professional development over a whole year, which allowed us to learn a new pedagogy but also time to put it into practice over months, then return to discuss our practice,” she said.  
“Our school was just starting our Challenging Task journey this year and from where I started in February to where I am now is remarkable.  
“The confidence I have gained through watching James and Jane teaching and talking at length about best practice has transformed my math lessons.” 
All Saints Albany Creek Assistant Principal Suellen Cotter said the presenters offered a variety of presentations, lesson observations, time with her own team, and ongoing support throughout the year.  
“The clarity of message, energy and excitement and feeling of success made this the best professional development I have ever been involved in,” she said.  
BCE Mathematics Education Officer Alana Bandholz said the pilot program was so successful last year that BCE will continue its partnership with Monash University.  
“The impact on Mathematics teaching and learning in our primary schools has been monumental,” she said.  
“We are hearing from teachers that the engagement and level of learning from their students has been significantly enhanced through this pedagogy and ongoing professional learning.”  
Alana said the partnership also aligned with BCE’s Education Strategy’s goal to deliver transformational experiences that inspire joy for learning. 
“Our new Education strategy puts student growth, agency and wellbeing as paramount, and Challenging Tasks are a vehicle where excellence and equity enable all to grow and thrive, through innovative learning.” 

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