This project embeds critical global learning in the teaching and learning of mathematics in school. Using the medium of a core subject to develop such learning places the competences at the heart of the school curriculum and encourages their prioritisation. The focus will be on 10-12 year olds but materials produced are likely to be suitable for a wider age range.
The intended outputs are a teacher professional development resource; contributions to initial teacher education; curriculum materials for school learners; and e-twinning activities, all housed on a legacy website. Themes to be explored include the global nature of mathematics; mathematics in history; ethno-mathematics; critical numeracy; and modelling contemporary social issues. Throughout the processes used will emphasise an embodied approach with learners working together to create a community of enquiry, one within which they experience rational and reasonable dialogue about things that matter to them and their teachers. Thus both the topic content and the espoused pedagogy will support the development of the knowledge, attitudes, dispositions and skills that are required for critical global learning within the teaching of mathematics.
In an increasingly globalised world, critical global learning should form a vital part of children's education (OECD, 2016, Global competency for an inclusive world]).
Global competence includes acquiring the knowledge and awareness of global and intercultural issues and the ability to learn from and live with people from diverse backgrounds, developing the capacities for mutually respectful interaction and open and flexible attitudes. This is in line with the priority of the EU to foster education which addresses social, ethnic, linguistic and cultural diversity and which develops social, civic, intercultural competences, media literacy and critical thinking (EU, 2017, Erasmus+ Programme Guide).
In addition, mathematics education researchers have long recognised that mathematics is formatting society, often creating and reinforcing inequality and social division. A mathematics education is needed which develops ‘mathemacy’ alongside literacy and supports the development of critical citizenship.
In many European countries, attainment in mathematics is low with many children reporting anxiety and lack of self-efficacy in the subject. In addition, teaching strategies known to enhance learning are less likely to be used with disadvantaged students and overall levels of attainment are negatively correlated with levels of disadvantage. Further, mathematical competence is needed in order to understand and interact as citizens with contemporary, complex societies and to understand the ways that mathematics is formatting society, often creating and reinforcing inequality and social division.
PiCaM aims at developing classroom resources that open up opportunities for every child to build a positive and productive relationship with the subject, developing a high mathematical self-concept and self-efficacy. Both topic content and the espoused pedagogy will support the development of the knowledge, attitudes, dispositions and skills that are required for critical global learning within the teaching of mathematics.
Working with teachers
PiCaM will develop specific training programmes for in-service and pre-service teachers. The goal is to help in understanding the role education can play in combating racism and discrimination and in supporting the achievement of migrant children; to acquire the skills to recognise and adapt practice in response to diversity amongst learners; and to develop techniques to support observation, listening and intercultural communication through drawing on techniques learnt from P4C (Philosophy for Children).
P4C is a questioning and enquiry based approach, thus far hardly used within mathematics education, which encourages the exploration of ideas. It gives children the possibility of seeing that their ideas have value and that others have different ideas that have value too. It gives children a chance to speak and be heard without the need always to be right and to develop confidence to ask questions and learn through discussion.