BSRLM Working Groups are instigated by members and they meet periodically to work on particular themes and tasks, often leading to outcomes that are published in the BSRLM proceedings and beyond. Working Groups are expected to meet, at least, at one of our three termly day conferences each year, and to submit a report of the meeting to be uploaded in the section below.
To organise your first Working Group meeting, you can simply submit details of the meeting as you would with a regular Research Paper presentation, but indicate the session type as ‘Working Group’. Once a few of these meetings have been held, details of your Working Group will be displayed below.
Current Working Groups
‘Building and Sustaining Active Research Collaborations with Teachers of Mathematics’ Working Group
Many researchers are deeply concerned with ensuring they have opportunities to work with and involve teachers in the process of doing, and engaging with the findings, of mathematics education research. The current educational landscape in which teaching schools and Maths Hubs are being encouraged to engage with and participate in more ‘research-informed’ practices offers a range of challenges but also opportunities to develop new collaborative ways of working. The working group meets to share and discuss experiences, current projects and initiatives with a view to developing a range of resources that might inform and support future work.
Working group meeting 1. Proceedings of the British Society for Research in Learning Mathematics 36(1).
Working group meeting 2. Proceedings of the British Society for Research in Learning Mathematics 36(2).
‘History in the Mathematics Curriculum’ Working Group
Co-ordinator: Leo Rogers
The Working Group aims to select, share, trial, evaluate and modify appropriate material in the light of teachers’ experience so that together we may discover sensible ways of introducing the ‘rich historical and cultural roots of mathematics’ to our pupils. This group reviews the outcomes and material from other meetings such as the History and Pedagogy of Mathematics group and updates on recent activities.
‘Using Statistics in Mathematics Education Research’ Working Group
This group was set up to explore some of the ways in which the mathematics education research community might continue to develop expertise and ‘build capacity’ in quantitative research. Previous sessions have explored a range of issues; for example, the use of secondary data from previously conducted surveys (in that case, the Geographies of Mathematical Attainment and Participation project); the use of experimental methods (drawing on article from a Special Issue of Research in Mathematics Education); how to critically read the results of large-scale surveys, in particular PISA and PIAAC. Our sessions have also reflected on moving between qualitative and quantitative approaches.
We encourage members of the Society who may have used an innovative quantitative approach to offer an exposition and discussion of it at our meetings. We also aim to have inputs from participants as to what topics they would like to have discussed at subsequent meetings of the working group.
Past Working Groups
‘Trigonometry’ Working Group
Co-ordinator: Anne Watson
For many years, trigonometry has been seen as a critical hurdle for those who wish to achieve at GCSE. To understand trigonometry involves orchestrating many concepts which in themselves are known to be hard to understand: angles, ratios, functions for example. This area of mathematics is therefore a rich arena for exploring how such understandings can be coordinated; how teaching might make this meaningful; as well as the nature of trigonometry. The group, which met five times between 2008 and 2010 was working towards understanding the place and purpose of trigonometry in the secondary curriculum informed by practice and research. Government-imposed curriculum changes prevented the development of any direct impact on practice, and funding for a teaching study was not forthcoming, so the group closed.
The reports of the working group meetings can be found in the following BSRLM Day Conference Proceedings:
Working group meeting 1. Proceedings of the British Society for Research in Learning Mathematics 28(3).
Working group meeting 2. Proceedings of the British Society for Research in Learning Mathematics 29(1).
Working group meeting 3. Proceedings of the British Society for Research in Learning Mathematics 29(2).
Working group meeting 4. Proceedings of the British Society for Research in Learning Mathematics 29(3).
Working group meeting 5. Proceedings of the British Society for Research in Learning Mathematics 30(2).
‘Geometry’ Working Group
Co-ordinators: Keith Jones and Taro Fujita
The Geometry Working Group focused on the teaching and learning of geometrical ideas in its widest sense. The aim of the group was to share perspectives on a range of research questions that could become the basis for further collaborative work.
‘Sustainability and Mathematics Education’ Working Group
Co-ordinator: Alf Coles
Although close to the end of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014), there seems to be wide variation in the extent and nature of action on sustainability issues in Higher Education Institutions. In schools, too, some communities have made major shifts in practice whilst others have different priorities. The coalition government has introduced changes of policy, including a move away from the ‘Doorways’ initiative, and it is not yet clear what the impact of these policy changes might be. However, these are primarily generic educational initiatives. To what extent is sustainability an issue to be addressed by mathematics educators? Sustainability does not yet seem to have become a central issue for mathematics education.
In this working group, we explored:
- Different interpretations of what ‘sustainable mathematics education’ might mean.
- Ways of promoting awareness of and action around sustainability issues through mathematics education.
- We will also share resources, and network to build capacity.