Reflective note on Mathematics symposium (23.03.2017 - The Sri Lanka Foundation)
Today, the Mathematics branch in the Ministry of Education conducted a symposium on Mathematics education at the Sri Lanka Foundation. Three key elements of math education as curriculum, personalized learning and challenge of the math teacher and assessment were addressed at the symposium through individual presentations as well as interactive panel discussions.
As I feel, throughout the sessions, three core ideas were growing up as follows.
1. Authentic learning as a path to fulfill 21st century learning needs. - this raises questions like do we need a paradigm shift from the present curriculum thinking in our country? Then what are the building blocks of such a curriculum? Even within the present context can we find doable contents? How can we break the walls between the subjects? In other words how can we break the subject silos? What is the role and use of technology in math education?
2. According to the experience of some panelists there are creative teachers in the system who are isolated and unrecognized. How can we find them? How can we use their wisdom to motivate other teachers?
3. what is the validity of our reasoning that we are giving for some issues and problems? Are we giving the real reason or is it just an assumption? For instance, poor language ability is given as one of the reasons for low achievement level of math. However, today evidence was given to show that majority of the students who failed in math not failed in the medium language. How shocking this reality?
We need to generate more dialogues on such questions to redefine the goals and objectives of math education. Not only for math but also for other subjects to see the interwoven relationships among the subjects. If we could continue the dialogue which we started today and without limiting to dialogues if we can identify doable things which expose from the dialogues, we can find a way to harmonize the thinking and doing.