The creation and dissemination of scientific knowledge is a primary task of any research center and at CMM we believe this responsibility extends to the national school system. We participate in the national efforts to improve the quality of education through various initiatives aiming to impact mathematics education at the national level. Among our achievements we mention that we lead the process of elaboration of national standards for the formation of mathematics teachers both for primary and secondary level; these standards are now being used to re-shape curricula in universities along the country and are the base for a habilitation exam. We elaborated a collection composed by 14 mathematics monographies on selected topics of university mathematics for future teachers and a book on Case Studies for the preparation of teachers to teach mathematics.
In the second phase proposal for the Education Team we distinguish among the basic continuation plan, to which we add some new developments that will characterize this second phase, opening a whole set of new challenges and opportunities.
Elementary and high school teacher training standards: CMM has had a crucial role leading the teams that elaborated the National Standards for pre-service teacher training in Mathematics, both for elementary school teachers and high school teachers. The standards establish the knowledge, skills and attitudes that primary school teachers should have at the end of the pre-service training in order to teach mathematics in elementary and high school. We foresee continuing collaboration with the Ministry of Education regarding the implementation of the standards at the national level. In particular, researchers of our team are leading members of the project aimed to create the INICIA Diagnostic Evaluation for 2013 in the areas of Mathematics and Science. The final document of the standards for elementary school teachers will be published in the Series of Mathematics Education of World Scientific and we will make the efforts necessary for publishing also the standards for pre-service high school teachers.
This is a three year project (2011-2014) that aims to create textbooks and other multimedia resources, to help institutions that prepare elementary school teachers to implement the National Standards for Pre-Service Elementary School Teachers Training in Mathematics. The textbooks are divided by subject (Numbers and Operations, Geometry and Measurement, Data and Randomness and Algebra) and they integrate content and pedagogical knowledge. A team of 16 authors, which are mathematicians and pedagogy experts from 7 different universities, is producing these books. The first draft of the books is being tested in teacher training programs of 14 universities throughout the country. Approximately 2500 future teachers have received the material during the first semester of 2012, and 2700 students will receive the books the second semester. This project is funded by Conicyt (Fondef) and has the support of the Ministry of Education, Fundación Luksic, Ediciones SM Chile and the Chilean Academy of Sciences.
School tournaments on mathematics:
CMM will continue its participation in the national inter-scholar mathematical competition co-organized with U. de Santiago. For the following five years we will gather academicians and students from both institutions to form the teams. We expect that around 3000 elementary and high school students from Santiago and nearby cities will participate every year. Through these yearly tournaments, we will detect many talented students with poor economical and social conditions that thanks to this initiative think will have the possibility to enter to a university. This is achieved by the Foundation Andronicus Luksic scholarships given every year to the students who obtain best results in Mathematical Tournaments (about 10 every year).
Translation and/or edition of books:
Four books will be published in the Chilean Academy of Sciences in collaboration with the Ministry of Education. These books will be edited by CMM researchers and are aimed to pre-service teachers in mathematics and sciences. The books are 1) Ready, Set, SCIENCE by Sara Michael et al. National Academy Press, 2007. 2) Principios y grandes ideas de la educación en Ciencias, by Wynne Harlen et al. Association for Science Education, 2010. 3) Arithmetics for Parents by Ron Aharoni. Sumizdat, USA. 2007. 4) Teaching Primary School Mathematics by Lee Peng Yee, Editor. Mc Graw Hill 2007.
Seminars and workshops:
During the coming years we will continue with our monthly “Seminar on Education”, that gather together specialists in education, mathematics and students. As part of our activities we will promote workshops and conferences for general public, for teachers (pre-service and in-service) and education researchers. We will also run a weakly research seminar in teaching and learning of school mathematics.
In-service teacher training:
The Education Team will launch two main initiatives in the area of in-service teacher training, based on the identified needs from the educational system and the development program of the team. 1) In 2011, the Ministry of Education published the National Standards for the Formation of Elementary Teachers, an official document to serve as a guide to all universities for upgrading their teacher formation curricula. During 2011-2012 we have helped to develop a new curriculum aligned with the standards, for an elementary school teacher training program at Universidad Diego Portales, in particular we gave workshops to the faculty to help them with content and methodology, and we have observed classes to evaluate the implementation of the courses. In view of the enormous need of academicians training to change the mathematics teaching for pre-service teachers according to the standards, and our acquired experience at UDP, we plan to offer a professional development program to lecturers of mathematics related courses of teacher training programs. 2) During the second semester of this year, we start a collaboration program with the Educational Corporation of Maipú County offering 7 courses for the mathematics at different levels and subjects. This is the starting point of a collaboration we expect to expand in the future, upgrading the courses, including other courses and opening them to other teachers. These two initiatives serve two different purposes: First, to contribute to mathematics teaching quality providing teachers with disciplinary and pedagogical tools, and second, to open collaboration avenues with the school system that serve our research purposes as described next.
Research in teaching and learning of school mathematics:
For more that 10 years, CMM has been devoting efforts towards various Research and Development projects with national impact (see First Phase Report). The work done in this direction has given CMM recognition and respect from the scientific and educational community and we will continue leading projects in this direction, completing those in progress and proposing new ones. However, we think that CMM could do an important contribution to the country if it also opens a research line of development. During the coming years we plan to open a line of research in the area of School Mathematics Teaching and Learning, an area of enormous importance in education, that has very few researchers in the country has and with scarce productivity. Our aim is to have national and international impact, providing leadership to talented young students and researchers, increasing the Chilean participation in Mathematics Education at international level and generating and making available new knowledge in teaching and learning school mathematics, a sensible area for national future.
Leading young students to pursue research careers in mathematics education:
Starting in September, two young teachers will join the Education Team with the declared purpose of gaining research and teaching experience in order to pursue a Ph.D. program in mathematics education in some top institution abroad (Leonardo Medel and Valeria Randolph were the best students in the mathematics teacher training program of University of Chile). We will continue with this plan inviting other talented students or newly graduated professionals (teachers, engineers, mathematicians) guiding and encouraging them to pursue high-level research careers in Mathematics Education. In this way we expect to make an important contribution to the country, providing highly demanded scholars. During the coming years we expect to invite more that 10 professionals to this program. For this purpose we will offer once a year a seminar for undergraduate students and young professionals with focus on teaching and learning of school mathematics. We expect that every year we will have about 30 students formally registered (The first call made last month attracted more that 60 applicants, among which we will choose 30 for the first edition of the seminar).
Along the years we have established scientific collaboration with various international centers of research in mathematics education, among them the National Institute of Education in Singapore and the School of Education at Michigan State University. During the coming years we will open research collaboration NIE at Singapore, the Mathematics Department at Texas State University and with the hiring of Gunawardena Egodawatte we expect to open collaboration with mathematics educators from OISE in University of Toronto.
Collaboration with CIAE:
Collaboration between CIAE (the Advanced Center for Educational Research of U. Chile) and CMM has been deep and rich from the very installation of CIAE as a research center. Many members of CIAE have joint appointments with CMM and the Director of CIAE Rafael Correa is a member of CMM. During the coming years we expect to intensify the collaboration between the two institutions in the particular area of teaching and learning of school mathematics. Having CMM as the host institution, we plan to develop a joint research program heading to install CMM-CIAE as a reference center in mathematics education, producing research published in international journals, in topics of importance to our school system and with impact in the educational reality. In order to achieve this, we plan to apply to national and international competitive funds in order to consolidate our team, enlarging the research capabilities and increasing the level of activities.