Mathematics Education in the Kimberley

Mathematics Education in the Kimberley

Maths in the Kimberley

Mathematics teaching in the Kimberley: Advancing professional conversations is for classroom practitioners wanting to develop their pedagogy and improve learning outcomes for their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

In August 2013, Sue Thomas, Project Co-ordinator,Kimberley Success Zone (KSZ) and Caty Morris, National Manager Indigenous Programs, Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers Inc (AAMT) took a 2000 km, nine-day road trip travelling inland from Broome through the Kimberley. Visiting schools and communities, they identified and captured examples of exemplary practice in mathematics education of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander learners.
While visiting schools and communities Sue and Caty:

  • spoke with principals, numeracy coaches, teachers, Aboriginal educators, students, parents and grandparents
  • engaged in professional learning with a group of teachers and leaders from five schools
  • observed exemplary classroom teaching held in-depth discussions with two committed Aboriginal educators about their perspectives on
  • mathematics and teaching, their roles as educators and what teachers need to know
  • presented sessions on the Make it count: Numeracy, mathematics and Indigenous learners project, and
  • met with the principal, curriculum coordinator and mathematics coach from one of the largest schools
  • in the Kimberley.

Highlights of their roadtrip included recognition of:

  • professionalism of teachers quality and expertise of mathematics education specialists
  • valuable contribution that Aboriginal educators make
  • pockets of incidental research currently underway on a small scale, with a real potential to be developed and shared, and
  • willingness to collaborate and learn from others and a real need to leverage the expertise.

Based on this journey, this paper explores some recent developments and initiatives in mathematics education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in Australia. It is written mainly for classroom practitioners who want to develop their pedagogy and improve learning outcomes for their students.