Ann Kajander: Math Ed Forum Spotlight: Re-visioning Relationships, Resilience, and Resources

Re-visioning the Three R’s: Relationships, Resilience, and Resources was presented at the Math Ed Forum on January 26, 2019, by Ann Kajander, Taylor Murie, and Kelly Sedor of Lakehead University.

The presentation explores the importance of relationships between teachers and students, ways to support student resilience, and the development of appropriate classroom resources including those based on Indigenized and decolonized mathematics content. The focus is on Grade 9 locally developed mathematics (LDM) courses, given that they, by definition, fall outside of the provincial testing program.

The presentation displays Lakehead’s research on the critical transition from Grade 8 to Grade 9 as students pursue either a Grade 9 Locally Developed (LD) mathematics credit or a General Learning Strategies (GLS) credit with a numeracy focus. The pilot-tested GLS course is explicitly focused on closing literacy and numeracy gaps as well as improving social skills to ensure a smooth transition to high school. Students who have been identified as having too large of gaps to succeed in LD mathematics, as well as those having trouble adjusting to high school culture, are enrolled in the GLS. This course is meant to catch students who might be at risk of not achieving a math credit in Grade 9 by ensuring that they have the tools they need for success. If students are able, they can also pursue an LD, applied or even an academic credit while being simultaneously enrolled in GLS. Some students benefit from the GLS environment and are able to complete a mathematics credit in the GLS room, where they would not be able to in the mainstream class. The teacher (also the department head) piloting the GLS course works extremely hard to create genuine connections with her students, which helps to create a comfortable environment for students. The research in the transition from Grade 8 to Grade 9 LD has also shown that the teacher making genuine connections with the students is critical to their success. These connections the teachers create with their students help to foster resilience in the students. We are also looking at how we can create resources for teachers that help make the transition to high school as seamless as possible for their students.

The PowerPoint of the presentation can be accessed here.

Videos of the MathEd Forums can be accessed through the video archive on the Fields Institute website.