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International numeracy experts meet at Southern Cross University


24 November 2004
Numeracy experts from the United States, Scotland, England and Australia will meet next week at Southern Cross University (SCU) to develop and refine cutting edge methods of teaching numeracy to 4 – 8 year olds.

The numeracy experts are writing a book to be used as a resource by teachers in schools and preschools.

The book will be based on the Mathematics Recovery Program which was developed at Southern Cross University in the 1990s by Associate Professor of Mathematics Education Dr Robert Wright via a Collaborative Research Grant from the Australian Research Council.

The program is now being used extensively in Australia, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Associate Professor Robert Wright said the methods to be included in the book had proved to be successful in a diverse range of educational settings.

“We are writing this book together so we can draw on our collective expertise. We want to develop a teaching resource that provides practical and proven methods for teaching number to young children.

“The goal of writing this book is to provide teachers in many countries with the skills and knowledge they need to successfully teach basic mathematics to 4- to 8-year-olds.”

The book will be published by Paul Chapman Publishers /Sage in London in 2005 and will complement two earlier books on teaching number written by Associate Professor Wright and colleagues which are also published by Paul Chapman.

“We know that if teachers can provide successful and cognitively challenging mathematics at this young age, it provides an invaluable foundation for their future learning of mathematics.

“The critical issue is to present mathematical tasks at the cutting edge of the child’s current knowledge, and for which the child has a good chance of success.

“In order to do this, teachers need to be able to assess the extent of the child’s current knowledge, to know where the child’s learning should proceed to, and to have at hand, instructional approaches that can take the child to new levels of learning.”

“On the other hand if children are put off maths, or decide it is too hard, it is very difficult to build their interest and confidence at a later date. Getting it right in these early years is crucial.”

During their visit to Southern Cross University, the group will take the opportunity to meet with Dr Anne Graham, Director of Southern Cross University’s Centre for Children and Young People (CCYP) and her colleagues.
The numeracy group will provide an update on key developments in early numeracy and will be introduced to the work of the CCYP.

“The work of the CCYP will be of significant interest to the visiting educators and may lead to links between the CCYP and overseas centres of similar focus”.

The delegation, which will meet from the 29 November – 3 December, includes:

Associate Professor Bob Wright - internationally recognised as a pioneer and leader in assessing the numerical knowledge and understanding of young children. Dr Wright developed ‘Mathematics Recovery’ at SCU in the 1990’s via funding from the Australian Research Council and it is now used extensively in Australia, the USA, Canada and the UK.

Ann Stafford, Chair of the US Mathematics Recovery Council - played a leading role since 1994 in the spread of Maths Recovery in the US. The program now runs in school districts in at least 20 states.

Jim Martland, recently retired from the Department of Education at the University of Liverpool - instrumental in taking Maths Recovery to schools in England, Scotland, Wales and Canada.

Dr Penny Munn, from the University of Strathclyde - internationally recognised for her research in early childhood literacy and numeracy, who has been instrumental in introducing Maths Recovery to schools in Scotland.

For more information: Kasturi Shanahan – 0439 858 057 0r 02 6620 3144 or Brigid Veale – 0439 680 748