Limerick and Clare schools selected for “Numeracy Across the Curriculum” pilot programme 

Numeracy Across the Curriculum

Jerry O’Sullivan, Deputy Chief Executive ESB, Professor Kerstin Mey, VP Academic Affairs UL, Professor Merrilyn Goos, Director of EPISTEM and John O’Donoghue, Professor Emeritus University of Limerick at the announcement of the“Numeracy Across the Curriculum” (NAC) initiative by EPISTEM, the National Centre for STEM Education in UL. Picture: Don Moloney.

Limerick and Clare schools selected for “Numeracy Across the Curriculum” pilot programme 

EPISTEM, The National Centre for STEM Education based in the University of Limerick, announced on Monday a new “Numeracy Across the Curriculum” (NAC) initiative.   

A year-long research and development project with the goal of developing strategies for teaching numeracy across the curriculum, the initiative will be piloted in primary and secondary schools across Limerick and Clare from August. 

Numeracy connects the mathematics learned at school with real-world situations that require problem-solving and critical judgment. For numeracy to be useful to students it needs to be learned in multiple contexts and in all school subjects – not just mathematics. 

The initiative is based on ten years of research undertaken by Professor. Merrilyn Goos, Director of EPISTEM, and her Australian colleagues Vince Geiger, Shelley Dole, Helen Forgasz and Anne Bennison.  Pulling from their extensive research, Goos and her colleagues developed guidance for teachers on how to embed numeracy across all subjects within the curriculum and to support teachers in assessing numeracy learning and dealing with the challenges of working within the boundaries of specific subjects.   

Goos and her colleagues have published their findings in the book ‘Numeracy Across the Curriculum: Research-based strategies for enhancing teaching and learning’ which was officially launched in Ireland at today’s announcement. “The ‘Numeracy Across the Curriculum’ initiative has had great success over the last number of years in my native Australia,” said Goos at today’s announcement.  “Empowering teachers to help their students use mathematics to solve everyday problems, or make evidence-based judgements, can be transformational. It is about looking at maths not from a closed discipline /subject perspective but how it is applied in real life contexts.” 

The book provides a practical guide for both pre-service and in-service teachers, on understanding numeracy and its application in both primary and post primary secondary schools in Ireland. Seven schools across the Limerick/Clare region have been selected to take part in the pilot scheme.  

“The programme will establish meaningful and beneficial connections between schools across the Limerick and Clare region and my team here in UL, while simultaneously addressing a national priority by developing schools of excellence in the area of numeracy,  and ensuring that teachers equipped with the skills to become Numeracy Ambassadors/Champions,” added Goos. 

Numeracy Across the Curriculum

Jerry O’Sullivan, Deputy Chief Executive ESB and Professor Merrilyn Goos, Director of EPISTEM at the announcement of the“Numeracy Across the Curriculum” (NAC) initiative by EPISTEM, the National Centre for STEM Education in UL. Picture: Don Moloney

The ‘Numeracy Across The Curriculum’ project seeks to develop teachers’ understanding of numeracy, while also guiding teachers on how to recognise and embed numeracy opportunities within their subject area. It will provide teachers with ideas, classroom activities and resources that they can use to develop students’ numeracy skills and will offer practical guidance for both schools and teachers. 

Speaking at today’s announcement, Jerry O’Sullivan, Deputy Chief Executive, ESB, welcomed the launch of the book and the initiative. “The ‘Numeracy Across The Curriculum’ project will provide teachers with ideas, classroom activities and resources that they can use to develop students’ numeracy skills and will offer practical guidance for both schools and teachers.” 

“ESB is committed to supporting STEAM education and learning as a way of empowering young people to fulfil their potential, and encouraging them to positively engage with the issues and challenges facing society.  Initiatives like the “Numeracy Across the Curriculum” project, with the goal of supporting positive dispositions towards the use of mathematics to solve problems encountered in day-to-day life, can only benefit young people and enable them to develop the skills necessary to critically assess the world around them and become the problem solvers and innovators of the future”.  

The ‘Numeracy Across the Curriculum: Research based strategies for enhancing teaching and learning’ book is available now and can be accessed by all pre-service or in-service teachers as a guidance tool. The ‘Numeracy Across the Curriculum’ pilot scheme will kick off in schools across Limerick in August 2019.  

About EPISTEM  

EPISTEM, the National Centre for STEM Education in Ireland, is a centre based at the University of Limerick. The Centre aims to improve STEM education through research into effective teaching, learning and professional development. The mission of EPISTEM is to conduct an integrated program of research, teaching, and engagement that addresses national and international challenges in STEM education. They achieve this goal by leveraging their distinctive connections between STEM education academics and STEM discipline academics, and by forging connections with policymakers, schools, practitioners, industries, and community groups that have a stake in STEM education. 

About Professor Merrilyn Goos 

Merrilyn Goos is Professor of STEM Education and Director of EPISTEM, the National Centre for STEM Education, at the University of Limerick, Ireland. Before taking up this position she worked for 25 years at The University of Queensland, Australia, in a range of academic roles including Head of the School of Education and Director of the University’s Teaching and Educational Development Institute, working with all Faculties and disciplines to improve the quality of teaching and learning in the University. Previously she taught mathematics, chemistry, and food science in secondary schools and technical colleges in Australia, following her first career as a food technologist working in research and development for a large dairy foods company. 

She is an internationally recognized mathematics educator whose research is known for its theoretical innovation and strong focus on classroom practice. Her research interests have included students’ mathematical thinking, the impact of digital technologies on mathematics learning and teaching, the professional preparation and development of mathematics teachers, numeracy across the curriculum, curriculum and assessment reform, and teaching and learning in higher education. She is currently Editor-in-Chief of Educational Studies in Mathematics, one of the leading research journals in mathematics education, and Vice-President of the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction. From 2010-2014 she served as President of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia. 

In 2004 she won a national award for excellence in university teaching for her work as a mathematics teacher educator, and in 2006 was awarded a national teaching fellowship to investigate assessment leadership in higher education institutions. She is the lead author of Teaching Secondary School Mathematics, an award-winning text used in teacher education programs across Australia, and the lead author of Numeracy Across the Curriculum, a new teacher education text published in 2018. 

For more information on EPISTEM in University of Limerick, click here  

For more stories featuring University of Limerick, click here  

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