May 22, 2024

The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences-Ghana (AIMS Ghana) conference on Helping Teachers Teach Mathematics (HTTMC) kicked off in Accra at the University of Ghana with a lineup of insightful facilitators on April 24th, 2024. Ian VanderBurgh, Director of the Center for Education in Mathematics and Computing at the University of Waterloo, emphasized the importance of problem solving in his session “Problem Solving is the Future.” He highlighted the role mathematicians play in training students to be problem solvers, stressing the need for commitment and attention in solving problems.

The past President of the Ontario Association for Mathematics Education (OAME)-David Petro delved into fostering student discussion in mathematics classes. Petro emphasized the correlation between students talking about mathematics and engaging in critical thinking, advocating for the use of technology to facilitate peer discussions during class sessions.

Mrs. Ngozi Peace Chisara, Head of the Mathematics Department at the University of Ghana, tackled the issue of math phobia through innovative communication strategies. She stressed the importance of effective communication in making mathematics accessible to all students, especially in the context of STEM education. Chisara encouraged teachers to be dynamic and innovative in their teaching methodologies, tailoring instructions to suit students who struggle with math.

Mike Jacobs, Mathematics Consultant for Durham Catholic District School Board in Ontario, led a session on geometry, focusing on the concrete-diagrammatic-symbolic continuum. He demonstrated how to teach topics like circle properties and the Pythagorean theorem using concrete materials and technological tools, making geometry more tangible for students.

In the concluding session of the day, Professor Rich Dlin from the University of Waterloo engaged participants with paradoxes to stimulate thought and learning. Dlin encouraged teachers to challenge students by occasionally questioning correct answers, fostering a deeper understanding of concepts and encouraging critical thinking.

In a nutshell, the first day of the HTTMC conference provided valuable insights and practical strategies for mathematics educators to enhance teaching practices and inspire students to excel in mathematics.

Matey Wisdom (Participant)
Ghana Society for Education Technology (GSET)
Fanteakwa North