More than 30 teachers made their way to Hope Christian School, Narellan, for the first CEN Mathematics 2-Day conference, on Thursday July 30 to Friday July 31 . The conference was well supported in attendance by Dubbo Christian School, Wagga Wagga Christian School, representatives from the Anglican Education Commission, Illawarra Christian School, Blue Mountains Christian School, Tyndale Christian School, Hope Christian School, St Paul’s Grammar School Cranebrook, Heritage Christian School Port Macquarie, Hope Christian School and Covenant Christian School.
The aim of the conference was to look at the big issue of Teaching Mathematics Christianly.
Q. What does it mean to teach Mathematics from a Christian perspective?
Q. What does it look like in the classroom?
Q. How do methods of pedagogy differ from Kindergarten to Year 12?
We are always seeking to teach the NSW Board of Studies outcomes to the best of our ability…..How about some outcomes from a Christian Perspective? How different is my classroom than the Mathematics classroom in the local State Secondary School?
The aim of the first day of the conference was to lay the ground work for the conference and what we wanted to achieve. After some time singing praises to God together, Cameron Nunn (Director of Studies, St Paul’s Grammar School, Cranebrook) gave us the morning devotion on Thursday, where he encouraged us to think about the way in which we teach, and to dig deeply into the Scriptures to find an authentic way of doing that. He encouraged us that Mathematics is a journey to describe the character of God – what a wonderful privilege we have to teach the students in our care…
After a break for some nice coffee and morning tea, Dr Charlie Justins (Deputy Principal, Tyndale Christian School) shared his 30 years of teaching experience in this area with an informative presentation on teaching Mathematics from a Christian Perspective. He encouraged us to look at sharing Christian perspectives in Mathematics through exploring the wonder of God, applying Mathematics to the real world, looking at the history of Mathematics, and teaching through narrative, as well as looking at the abstract areas of Mathematics as an opportunity to see the beauty, consistency and majesty of God.
A beautiful lunch was followed by some discussion groups where we shared our passions, successes and challenges with one another. Pete Muddle (Mathematics Coordinator, Covenant Christian School) and Jenni Spies (Mentor for Teaching Christianly, Anglican Education Commission) shared some ideas and resources, before a wonderfully encouraging last session where a number of teachers shared some of the great things that are happening in Christian schools in this area.
We adjourned for the day, found our comfortable lodgings at a nearby motor inn, and then headed out for some social time together, with a nice dinner at Camden Golf Club, and then a night of trivia and games, with the trivia master, Max Monin! An exhausting but enjoyable day.
A generous breakfast and quiet time allowed us to focus for the second day – where we were to spend some time in groups looking at writing stage-specific outcomes for Teaching Mathematics Christianly. Will Gardner (CEN) gave the Friday morning devotion, and he challenged us to be faithful to the call of God in our lives to pursue the opportunities afforded in the teaching of Mathematics to share Christ with those in our care.
We spent the day working in groups, and then presented our ideas to the other delegates. It was so encouraging to see each group write some meaningful material in this important area, and although this is just a start, we look forward to the development of Christian curriculum materials in Mathematics across the K-12 courses into the future.
A special thank you to our sponsors Mathletics and Origo, and a huge thank you to Reina de Vries and Will Gardner from CEN, who organised a wonderful conference, from the venue to the catering, accommodation and other resources, it was a great time away.
We look forward to the opportunities to network into the future, and to continuing the work we have just begun.