CfEM blog: #CfEMLive and celebrations

Blog by Joss Kang, Director of touchconsulting LTD, for the Centres for Excellence in Maths (CfEM) programme.

As part of the Centres for Excellence in Maths (CfEM) programme, the Centres worked on 29 small-scale action research questions in the project’s first year (2019-2020). touchconsulting Ltd worked with the University of Nottingham to develop a three-day, part residential, ‘CfEM Action Research Professional Development Programme’ to support action research groups (ARGs) across England to design and carry out collaborative action research. Over 101 maths teachers participated during 2019-2020, and it looks like the numbers are set to double for 2020-2021. Although it will be an online, blended programme.

As we went into lockdown, we were determined that all ARGs would have the opportunity to share their action research findings with peers. This was delivered through #CfEMLive.

We went from face-to-face dissemination to a series of four online events which kept me sane during the early days of lockdown ‘shock!’ More importantly, they resulted in 28 ARGs sharing their findings to an audience of over 330+ peers.

Practitioners came together and formed a vibrant maths community, expertly facilitated by my colleague Lou Mycroft.  By going online we were able to reach a much wider audience than originally planned. Another bonus is we have 26 video-presentations to share with you; each exploring the journey ARGs undertook as they pursued inquires. ARG members share thought-provoking, ethically derived nuanced findings and recommendations. The Education and Training Foundation will be releasing these in the coming weeks.

Together, at each of the #CfEMLive events, we created the conditions for appreciation, celebration and reflection. Browse some of the reflections from the four events below.

The quote below from a participant on #CfEMLive4 brings our journey full circle:

‘I’ll be passing on this AR to trainee teachers in Sept so that they know that there is a strong community of teachers working to find solutions to these common issues for maths teachers. This body of new knowledge is a very valuable asset to us all.’

We started our AR CPD travels way back in November/December 2019, exploring how participants were embarking on journeys to create localised, post-16 GCSE maths resit knowledge, generated from practice-evidence and research-evidence. I’m confident, although many didn’t quite believe it when we first started, that’s exactly where we have firmly ended in up in Summer 2020 – a body of new GCSE resit knowledge – on topics as diverse as maths coaches, augmented reality, maths specific vocabulary for ESOL learners and much, much more.

It’s not been easy for practitioner-researchers as they have juggled their day jobs alongside their action research projects and coped with COVID-19 related disruptions but I’m sure you will agree, once you have watched their brilliant presentations, how awesome they have been!

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