Professor Walshaw is co-director of Massey’s Centre of Excellence for Research in Mathematics Education (CERME) with Professor Glenda Anthony who last year won the prestigious Fulbright-Harkness New Zealand Fellowship.
Professor Walshaw was invited to be the keynote speaker at Canadian Mathematical Society’s annual summer meeting.
Her talk looked at how teachers deliver effective teaching of maths while taking into account today’s diverse classroom needs including physical, social and cultural differences in students.
She was also a plenary speaker at the Canadian Mathematics Education Study Group 36h Annual Meeting where she explored social justice and its place within mathematics education. Her third engagement was at the Eighth International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry hosted by the University of Illinois. Her talk looked at the identity of a pre-service teacher and communal processes during practicum.
Professor Walshaw said she had a particular interest in social justice in the classroom, particularly in the context of mathematics teaching. By using case studies from her research she aims to help teachers and educators to gain a better understanding about how to unpack what’s going on in a classroom to ensure better student engagement and results.
For example, why would a Year 12 accelerated student in maths and someone seen as competent enough to move ahead of her year group, become disillusioned with her ability to do maths and see herself as ‘dumb’? Or why would a third year maths practicum placement student who had blossomed in her first two placements suddenly receive such negative feedback from staff that she considered leaving teaching?
“I am interested in looking at the issues that affect students and teachers in the classroom and helping them to reflect and step back and find effective strategies to work better and to better understand the pressures and assumptions that are present,” Professor Walshaw says. “As we deal with more diversity in the classroom, it is vital that teachers become better at dealing with assumptions to make sure students get the best outcomes.”
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