Teaching Matters 2020 | Presentation Details | 2 December 20202 Dec 2020
Peer Learning Circle conversations about connections and representations
- Vesife Hatisaru
- Nicole Maher
- Andrew Seen
This presentation is underpinned by the assumption that making connections within and between mathematical and scientific concepts is crucial to building effective learning environments, and that representations (diagrams, graphs) are the tools that allow us to “see” these connections. This year our preservice teachers (PSTs) and teacher educators are navigating their way through changed learning environments due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Never before has it been more important to reflect on our practice in fine-grained ways. In this presentation, we report the progress of an interdisciplinary peer learning circle (PLC) to explore the use of representations in teaching and learning of mathematics and science; and share the reasons and evidence for the success of the PLC (Hatisaru et al., under review).
The common issue of interest for the PLC was the meaning of representational competence and its importance as a component of educator capacity. PLC members were interested in reflecting upon their own understanding of representational competence, and how it pertains to their discipline. The process would provide a springboard for exploring how this capacity could be enhanced in PSTs.
The group met four times between June 2019 and April 2020. In the fourth (virtual) meeting, the group explored making connections between science and mathematics that has become a focus of curricula at any level. They discussed ways of connecting mathematics to science, and applying mathematical modelling to solving problems in science. By chance, these last discussions took place during the pandemic; enabling the group to place the science and mathematics connection models within broader societal issues.
The Peer Learning Circle reported here is funded by the University of Tasmania Community of Practice Initiative: Peer Learning Circles program. We acknowledge the contribution to the PLC of team members Greg Oates, Sharon Fraser, Carol Murphy, and Barbara Holland.
Hatisaru, V., Oates, G., Fraser, S., Murphy, C., Maher, N., Holland, B., & Seen, A. (under review). A peer learning circle approach to professional learning: Promoting representational fluency. Australian Mathematics Education Journal.