by Chris Clayton (September 2022)
I have been working for the Cambridge Maths Hub as a work group leader and here I reflect on what that involves.
Members of the Cambridge Maths Hub team learn with and support others. We engage and support fellow teachers with real challenge, and in doing so we all gain a deeper understanding of the young people we work with in the classroom.
As a work group leader for the hub, I am also a Local Leader of Maths Education. LLMEs are professionals who are prepared to constantly reflect about young people’s understanding and experience. All LLMEs I have met want to make a difference. They want to share and support to overcome any challenges together for depth of understanding and the quality of learning.
There is always a book being recommended. I have read more books than usual since joining the hub. This reading gives the opportunity to reflect and engage in dialogue about learning: our own learning as well as the learning of our pupils. From the discussions about the readings we develop a common meaning and a purpose which helps us all to review how we approach aspects of the curriculum within the classroom.
The language of teaching has changed considerably over the last ten years. There is a danger in education of jumping on any new bandwagon. The maths hub and the work of the NCETM enable us to be research-informed, meaning that we have a critical response to new ideas, and we have a rational and deeper understanding to our approach.
For example, let’s take the term scaffolding. While it does mean ‘to teach in small steps’, we can also explore the deeper understanding relating to variation, representation, and coherence. As well as this, clear consideration is given to the split-attention effect, redundancy effect and what exactly fading backward might mean to us.
All of this needs to be recognized in the context of the classes we work with, and the maths hub helps us to engage collaboratively with this.
This blog post has explained some of the important things I have gained from being part of the LLME with the Cambridge Maths Hub. I hope that some readers of this might want to get involved in participating in work groups with the hub. Further information about these can be found here on our website.
All of the maths hubs believe in collaborative professionalism and hope that leaders and participants in maths hub activities will:
engage in mathematical learning
work with supportive professionals
identify with making a difference for all
talk about learning
understand discussion is important
I have gained a considerable amount from my participation in, and leadership of, work groups with the Cambridge Maths Hub. I am grateful to the hub for the opportunities it offers, and for being prepared to make a difference.