Southern Cross University is developing a new type of short course to upskill future maths teachers in partnership with industry and with the backing of the federal government.
Southern Cross University’s new Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching Mathematics for Out-Of-Field Teachers is one of 28 courses recently greenlighted for design through the federal government’s new Microcredentials Pilot in Higher Education program to support the development of the courses in priority areas, including education.
The postgraduate course is aimed at teachers of other subjects to encourage a career shift to mathematics where teachers are in-demand.
Microcredentials are short, focused courses in a specific area of study, designed to teach and upskill learners with targeted, job-relevant skills.
“Microcredentials can help Australians upskill and reskill to prepare for the jobs of the future,” said Federal Education Minister Jason Clare.
“This pilot means more Australians can get the skills in areas we need, such as teaching, nursing, and engineering.”
Southern Cross University Professor David Lynch of the Faculty of Education is developing the maths teaching microcredential in conjunction with the Mathematics Association of NSW.
“We are thrilled Southern Cross University has been awarded a microcredential grant from the federal government to take the lead in solving the out-of-field mathematics teaching problem – the issue that arises when teachers from other disciplines are teaching maths to fill a staffing gap, without proper training or support,” said Professor Lynch.
“We will be working with classroom teachers and professional associations to develop a different type of professional learning activity. The innovative and intensive course will not only upskill future maths teachers, we aim to shake-up the profession by improving how mathemetics is taught.”
Professor Lynch said Australia’s national teacher shortage was exacerbated by a lack of teachers who were confident in teaching maths.
“I led a major study in conjunction with the Mathematics Association of NSW where we essentially looked at the challenges of staffing our schools with teachers who are not only competent but confident to teach mathematics. The logical solution to fill this gap was a microcredential,” Professor Lynch said.
“Teachers qualified to teach mathematics are in very short supply across Australia, especially in regional and rural areas. Out-of-field mathematics teaching (OoFMT) is now a chronic issue impacting staffing in most secondary and primary schools and therefore Australia’s capacity to enrol and prepare high-quality STEM school graduates.
“The challenge of out-of-field mathematics teaching is further compounded by a lack of flexible formal mathematics teaching-specific study options along with the absence of a support network for professional learning and mentoring for mathematics teachers in such circumstances. Our microcredential will address these gaps.”
The Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching Mathematics for Out-Of-Field Teachers is expected to be available online through Southern Cross University from Term 1 (March intake), 2024.
Microcredentials Pilot in Higher Education program
The aim of the Microcredentials Pilot in Higher Education program is to help higher education providers to design and deliver microcredentials in fields of national priority in partnership with industry.
The federal government has allocated a total of $18.5 million to Southern Cross and 17 other universities to support the development of the courses in priority areas, including education.
More information at https://www.education.gov.au/microcredentials-pilot-higher-education