Minister Sherlock Announces New Course for Teachers of Maths

Friday, 25 May 2012

Minister of State for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock, TD
Minister of State for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock, TD

Programme is part of the Government’s strategy to improve the teaching and learning of maths 

The Minister of State for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock, TD, today officially launched the Professional Diploma in Mathematics for Teaching, which is aimed at ‘out-of-field’ teachers of maths.

The programme is aimed at improving the skills of maths teachers at post- primary level. It covers mathematical content and knowledge, and teaching and learning strategies/approaches relevant to the Project Maths syllabi, which are being rolled out in schools.   

Under the NUI Galway-UL Strategic Alliance, a team from the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics and School of Education, NUI Galway has worked closely with the National Centre for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and Learning (NCE-MSTL, UL) to develop the new professional mathematics education programme.

Speaking of the announcement, Dr Tony Hall, NUI Galway, said: “This new programme constitutes a significant and historic development in the enhancement of post-primary mathematics in Irish education. The principal focus of this unique new course is to enhance teachers’ mathematical content knowledge and their understanding of the subject of mathematics.”

Dr Hall added:  “Now, this unique, specialist professional mathematics education programme at graduate level will facilitate upskilling of the mathematical subject knowledge of teachers in schools, helping to support the wider national reforms currently taking place in mathematics education in Ireland.”

Jointly accredited and designed by NUI Galway and UL, the programme will be delivered nationwide, free of charge through a national consortium of higher education institutions and the Association of Teacher Education Centres in Ireland.

The course will be a blended learning programme based on a part-time (2 year) university accredited professional diploma, delivered locally and through online modules. Google will support the flexible online delivery of the programme as the chief technology partner in the NUI Galway-UL, Alliance-led consortium.

The new programme is aligned with the national curriculum reform, Project Maths (2008-2015); the requirements of the Teaching Council as the statutory body for teaching in Ireland; and latest developments in innovative educational technology and mathematics education research. There will be specific provision for teachers in Irish-medium schools through a Dioplóma Gairmiúil sa Mhatamaitic don Mhúinteoireacht, supported by NUI Galway and Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, Gaillimh.

The BA Mathematics and Education was introduced by the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics and School of Education, NUI Galway in 2008 specifically to address the demonstrated need for excellent mathematics teaching in Irish schools. It was at the time the first, and only specialist teaching programme of its kind in the Irish State, focusing to honours university level on the mathematical sciences, within a full, concurrent, four-year initial teacher education degree. The BA Mathematics and Education will graduate its first cohort of specialist mathematics and applied mathematics teachers in autumn 2012.

Commenting on the launch, Minister for Education and Skills Ruairí Quinn T.D.,  said: “The provision of this course provides further evidence of my personal commitment, and that of my Government colleagues, to supporting maths teaching in post primary schools. We are providing over €2million to fund this course, and are making it available at locations across the country and free of change, to maximise accessibility and participation.”

Minister Sherlock said “The teaching community has shown significant interest in this course since my announcement last September. I am pleased that the course will facilitate teachers who are working during the day, with convenient local and online access.”

John Herlihy, VP and Head of Google in Ireland said; “Government, industry and academia all agree on the need for more students to study Maths, Science and Engineering subjects at third level and on the need to produce graduates with strong analytical and problem solving skills. The introduction of a Professional Diploma in Mathematics for Teaching is an important step in augmenting how we teach maths in our secondary schools. I believe that providing ‘out of field’ teachers with the specialised skills to teach maths in an enthusiastic and knowledgeable way will be a catalyst for more students pursuing maths based subjects at third level.”

ENDS

Author: Marketing and Communications Office, NUI Galway
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