Transcript of learning across the curriculum
Chris: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to session three, series four of Syllabus PLUS, Adobe Connect Series. I'm very pleased to be joined this afternoon by [Stenner Pevez 00:00:11], who I know would be known to many of, particularly those people in Southwest Sydney and Western Sydney. I'm very pleased that Stenner is here this afternoon because I would be a little bit short-staffed in State Office given Nagla's predicament, but Stenner has been snaffled away from her job at [New Ember 00:00:34] Office in the Ed Services Team to backfill the position here in State Office. I'm really, really pleased that she's here.
This afternoon, we're looking at Learning Across the Curriculum in the mathematics classroom. This is, of course, something that we've touched on a fair bit of different points during the Syllabus PLUS Series. We thought it would be a good idea just to revisit some ideas around that. This afternoon, we're really looking for your inputs. What we would very much like to do is to see or hear from you via the chat ideas that you've had in incorporating the Learning Across the Curriculum contents in units to learning. I see by the poll in the lobby here that a number of people have programmed or have indeed taught Learning Across the Curriculum content in the units of learning. Please do feel free to share your ideas via the chat this afternoon.
One thing I'd like to make clear right from the start and this is a question, which is often asked of officers in the State Office, not only in Mathematics, and that is, what are your requirements around, they say requirements, around reporting. I need to make it very clear right from the start that we, of course, only report on outcomes. Learning Across the Curriculum content is just that, it's content. You are not required to report a student's progress, for example, in intercultural understanding. The Learning Across the Curriculum areas are the context through which may choose to teach certain topics in mathematics. I hope everyone is clear on that right from the start.
I'm going to hand over to Stenner and thank her once again for being with us this afternoon.
Speaker 2: Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for having me here. Thank you for that introduction, Chris.
Chris: Okay, I'm just going to go on to the next screen.
Speaker 2: Lovely.
Chris: Done here.
Speaker 2: Okay, terrific. Again, welcome this afternoon. Thank you for having me here as well. It's a great pleasure to be here and be able to present on this particular topic. Learning across the curriculum, as Chris said, this is not accompanied by outcomes. It is a way or means of teaching the content in the mathematics K-10 syllabus.
The Learning Across the Curriculum content includes a couple of different areas. It's the cross-curriculum priorities and general capabilities that actually assist the students to achieve the broad learning outcomes that are presented by the mathematics K-10 syllabus. Also, the Statement of Equity Principles and the Melbourne Declaration. The curriculum priorities, actually, helps students to develop that deeper understanding about some of the contemporary issues that they face and some of the content. It just helps to provide a context, and helps the learning in mathematics to come alive a little bit more.
What are the Learning Across the Curriculum areas? First of all, the cross-curriculum priorities, there are three that are set by the Australian curriculum. That's the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia, and sustainability. Along the bottom there, there are some of the symbols that we actually have in the syllabus that indicate different outcomes that are accompanied or they could be taught all through some of these cross-curriculum priorities or general capabilities.
The general capabilities, there are seven of those. They are critical and creative thinking, ethical understanding, information and communication technology, intercultural understanding, literacy and numeracy, which we have actually been focusing on through the last couple of years, and personal and social capability. This helps students to live and work successfully in the 21st Century. In other words, 21st Century learning is accompanied by a lot of the technologies, and more of a global view on different areas that we're studying. It's no longer just in isolated pockets. We have to really think about teaching these in a global sense.
The third area for learning across the curriculum, these particular topics or areas have been introduced by the New Southwest Board of Studies. That's civics and citizenship, difference in diversity, and work and enterprise. Now, work and enterprise is listed in the math syllabus, but civics and citizenship, and difference in diversity are not stated in the mathematics syllabus. However, it doesn't mean that you don't have to touch on those or use those ideas. They just help students study mathematics through the diverse nature of Australian society. It helps them put the mathematics learning into context.
Let's have a look at those in a little bit more detail. First of all, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island histories and cultures, and the symbol that usually goes with that is the hand. Now, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders communities have a unique sense of identity. They do actually include a broad range of applications or mathematical concepts.
By studying mathematics through some of these histories, students get the opportunity to explore number, measurement and geometry, including time and location through the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander context. They deepen their understanding of the topics if they can relate them to something that's contextual basically. Through the application and evaluation of statistical data is one area. As I said before, measurement and geometry, including time and location.
Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia, because some Asia is our closest neighbour, we do actually have a lot of contact with Asian societies whether it'd be through tourism or migration or trade. It is quite so pertinent that students should actually learn all of the mathematics through some applications to Asian context. When we think about things like concepts of chance using Asian games or patterns and symmetry in art and architecture, data collection and representation, and all sorts of other aspect.
By the way, in these slides that we're looking at, the actual mathematical concepts or anything that actually refers to mathematics is highlighted in maroon. These are just some of the things that have been named or mentioned in the syllabus but there's all sorts of other ways that we can really relate mathematics to Asia and our engagement with Asia. By the way, these slides, actually the comments on the slides are a condensed version of what is in the syllabus itself. If you would like to just look at the full content, go to the Learning Across the Curriculum areas in the syllabus and that will give you a more detailed version of what we're talking about here.
Sustainability. I think sustainability is one of those things that's very pertinent at the moment with all our changing environment and global warming, and there wouldn't be a single day that we don't hear something on the news about this thing. Mathematics actually provides a foundation for the exploration of these issues and equip students with the skills to investigate data, evaluate and communicate findings, and make predictions.
We always see diagrams or graphs of perhaps the changes that have been happening through the carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere, or temperature changes, and so on, so make predictions on the basis of what happened in the past and the trends that are shown by those particular graphs, and we often hear about what the graphs are predicting for 2025 or 2050 and so on. Predictions are very important.
Also, students gain skills and understanding in the observation and recording, organising, and analysing data. They can measure some of their own or make some of their own measurements. Perhaps in the local community, they can engage in investigations regarding sustainability. They can look at mathematical and computer modelling, chance and probability, perhaps, and multiple data sets and statistical analysis of first hand and second hand data.
Sustainability is also a very good point to actually, if you wanted to touch on learning across different subject areas, it will be fantastic to work with, perhaps, some of the science teachers or some of the geography or history teachers on. Seeing what they're doing in terms of sustainability, and perhaps teach a little bit across subject areas.
Critical and creative thinking. We have something that has always been encouraged of us, but more so in the recent years because there is so much data available but not all of is true, for instance. Some of it could be misleading data that we see on the TV, or in the newspapers, or whatever. Critical and creative thinking is very important, particularly in the current climate.
Students can explore properties of shapes, setting up statistical investigation, comparing actual to expected results in probability, interpret data displays, examine misleading data, and interpolating and extrapolating. Again, related to perhaps changes in climate or population or whatever it might be. Also, in posing problems and modelling situations, justifying choices and strategies used, and giving reasons to explain mathematical ideas.
In fact, more and more ads for jobs these days ask for critical and creative thinking or creativity. It is more and more important now for people to be able to think creatively and be able to come up with all sorts of solutions, which perhaps are just not on the straight and narrow, but being very creative.
Ethical understanding. Student develop their ethical understanding as they learn about principles, values, integrity, and regard for others. We talked about even ethics when applied to parting perhaps movies or music, some of the decisions that were made through history, what's ethical in terms of migration and the boats, perhaps, coming to Australia, lots of ethical discussions.
We can teach or students can explore like data, interpreting misleading graphs and displays, examining selective use of data by individuals and organisations, and really detecting and eliminating bias in the reporting of information because I think in newspapers, depending on perhaps what scales are used on some of the graphs, or tables, or whatever is presented, the information that's presenting can be very misleading. Students need to be able to think about it in terms of ethics, and also their critical evaluation of what's being presented to them. There is so much information available, but they've got to be able to philtre through it to make sense of the information that's valuable and that which is not.
ICT. Lately, we've had a lot of work presented on ICT. It is a tool to assist us in, perhaps, investigating, and creating, communicating ideas, self-problems and make calculations or tasks just easier to actually achieve so students can actually get into the meanings of task more than just being bogged down in the calculations or in the mechanical type of work.
In the Number and Algebra strand, students can use ICT in creating patterns, creating and interpreting graphs, investigating things like compound interests, solving equations graphically. In Measurement and Geometry, there are lots of areas that they can focus on, exploring shapes, creating designs, representing, and visualising, manipulating three dimensional objects. That's something that's hard to do without ICT, unless you actually have the object there to be able to work with. They can investigate things like congruency and similarity, represent position and paths, and making informal measures of length and area.
In Statistics and Probability, certainly recording and displaying data, comparing data sets, calculating measures of location and spread, modelling and using the internet to gather and analyse data presented by the media. Also, in Statistics and Probability, ICT is really great for being able to quickly see, say, the effect of an outlier on things like median, mode and mean. Really easily seen, whereas, it's not as quite easily seen in real terms. Excellent ways to model the understanding or deepen the understanding in Statistics and Probability.
Also, ICT can be used to, perhaps, differentiate ways that students can actually present their results. They can present their results in terms of maybe a video or maybe not a PowerPoint, but like a slideshow, or maybe a PowerPoint as well. Just different ways of creatively showing what they have actually learned rather than just through pen and paper.
Intercultural understanding. These days, we have to, as we said, think a little bit more globally. We are no longer in a little isolated box. Any learning or teaching that we can do in terms with a global perspective, we'll make the mathematics actually come alive a little bit more for the students. There are some examples there, patterns in art and design, comparing currencies, for instance. We can talk about trade, perhaps, in terms of tables and graphs, talking about the changes in production of different countries, and so on.
Literacy, important aspect of mathematics. Students need to understand written problems and instructions. It would be very hard for them to be able to solve problems if they didn't have that literacy understanding. It's also really important that they understand specific meanings in a mathematical context like, for instance, words like volume or difference. It has a different, very specific naming in mathematics from just everyday life. Also, in terms of visual literacy, very important. Students also need to be able to read tables, graphs, and other representations.
Numeracy is something that's implied in every aspect of the Mathematics syllabus. It should be taught through every aspect. It's not actually listed with the outcomes through the math's syllabus, but it's implied that numeracy will be taught right through the syllabus.
Personal and social capability. They get to develop personal and social competence as they learn to understand and manage themselves, especially their relationships with others. We're talking about establishing positive relationships, making responsible decisions, working effectively in teams, being able to communicate and handling challenging situations constructively. If you're working or asking students to work in teams or in groups in the classroom, then this would be a part of it.
Relevant to mathematics, even giving and following directions, visualisation, and mapping skills. This is very, very important in terms of being able to solve problems. Interpreting time tables and calendars, that's a social capability. Calculating with money in the GST, budgeting, price comparisons, and so on. Best Buys, although these days in the shops, a lot of the products are labelled with per-unit price, but still not everything, and it's good that students should be able to work out a lot of their own or investigate their own Best Buys. Conducting statistical investigations is another area as well.
Work and enterprise, work-related knowledge, skills, and understanding. We're talking here about constructing budgets, calculating wages and salaries, who owns more through wages, weekly wages, or whatever, or salaries per year, investigating and determining leave loadings, deductions and pay-as-you-go, instalments in tax, liability or refund, and investigating tax rebates and levies, as well. Things like discounts profit and loss, success of a discount, statistics to predict future earnings, monitor inventories, and analyse and interpret information gained from surveys.
Also, design surveys, it's very important for students to be able to think critically about what questions to ask if they're designing a survey, how to ask the questions, and then how to actually analyse and display them. Communication is also a big part of work and enterprise because there wouldn't be too many jobs these days without a great need for expert communication.
Now, civics and citizenship is one of those areas that's not listed or not stated in the Math syllabus. However, it's to do with how Australian society operates. Really, you can still teach mathematics with this in mind. Same with difference in diversity. Our Australian population, particularly, here in Sydney is certainly very diverse in not only age and beliefs, agenda, language, and race, and some of the factors that comprise a difference in diversity really affect the way we do things. It's important that students develop an understanding of the features and cultures of other people to promote living harmoniously. That can also be explored through mathematics.
Just as a final note, Learning Across the Curriculum, we do have these priorities and general capabilities, but also, give a bit of thought to, perhaps, teaching mathematics along with other subjects like if you think about history teachers may provide advice on content being covered on Aboriginal history perhaps, and this can be further explored through mathematics in statistics. I know that the timelines, obviously, would be a big thing in history, but exploring different areas that are taught in history that we can also support in Mathematics, and that will actually give the students an opportunity to really apply what they're learning in Mathematics in across different subject at one time or similar times, so that they will hopefully, then, be able to generalise the concept a lot better.
English can provide advice on, perhaps, the media. We can further explore that through the use of time tables, costs, visual numeracy. Even areas in terms of ads for newspapers and cost because, often, the advertisements in newspapers are priced depending on the area. That's a good way to relate Mathematics to English.
Science and HSIE, obviously, we've already mentioned that in terms of sustainability, farming, global warming, and overpopulation, perhaps, world health, and so on. That's related to PD/H/PE. Also, sport in terms of measurement, number, and algebra can relate to the body mass index, and so on.
Creative arts. If you think about things like sculpture, perhaps, or pottery, you relate to the temperatures of furnaces that can be mapped, perhaps, in the table of values, the rising temperature in a furnace. You have temperature versus time. Volume and mass of the clay, perhaps, the geometry shape of the sculpture, and, of course, number and the cost involved in producing a particular sculpture or, perhaps, framing a picture and so on.
Teaching strategies. Also, if we look at the cross-curriculum priorities and general capabilities, they really open a door to or they're an excellent vehicle for a variety of teaching strategies, and they really encourage it, the opportunities to do something differently. For example, you can do research projects, hands-on practical work including measurement, gathering firsthand or second hand data, and information through, perhaps, project work again, preparing reports and presentations. It gives the students the opportunity to present their research or their mathematical understanding in a different way. That can be related to a topic like sustainability, perhaps, and, of course, working across subject areas that we've already discussed.
I think that's brings us to the end there. Hopefully, we're hoping that those of you who have actually tried different ways or you've actually touched on some of these cross-curricular priorities and general capabilities, if you can give us a bit of feedback there, that would be fantastic. We'll be looking forward to hearing from you. Thank you very much, and I'll pass over to Chris.