Blog: Mathematics Mastery, James Etheridge
Join the design team at Mathematics Mastery
While we advertise to recruit a new Design Project Lead, another of our Design Project Lead’s, James Etheridge, talks about his first year on the job.
What attracted you to working for Mathematics Mastery, and more specifically working as a Design Project Lead?
Mathematics Mastery’s mission resonated with my own belief that all students can be successful in mathematics, think mathematically, develop an understanding … and enjoy it too! The organisation’s research led approach and dedication to subject specific professional development were critical factors in my decision to apply.
As a classroom teacher I loved designing tasks and thinking of ways to enable students to grapple with, and make sense of, mathematics. I was looking for an opportunity to dedicate more time to thinking in detail about how we can enable ALL students to experience the true nature of mathematics not the acquisition of seemingly disparate facts. The role of Design Project Lead ticked all the boxes!
What has your role involved?
The role is far more varied than I expected and there is no such thing as a typical day! The main project that I have worked on is the design of our new Year 7 materials. This has involved engaging in research literature, designing tasks, recording PD videos, creating Geogebra applets and, it goes without saying, a tonne of maths. The work is team orientated and involves daily collaboration, from planning the development of mathematical concepts to sharing current research and discussing the implications.
In addition to the curriculum design work I have designed training materials, presented at PD days, visited schools in our partnerships, analysed the efficiency of our design processes, discussed big issues in mathematics education with our advisory panel, collaborated with AQA and the DfE … and much more.
What have been some of the most interesting and valuable experiences you’ve had in your first year at Mathematics Mastery?
So many to choose from but the common thread is learning. There are so many opportunities to learn from the excellent team of people here as well as external expertise. In March the Design Team attended the two-day ISDDE conference in Cambridge where a select group of educational curriculum designers discussed their theory of learning. There aren’t many jobs where you have the chance to discuss the BIG questions with some of the most experienced professionals in your field!
How is Mathematics teaching evolving and where do you think Mathematics Mastery fits into this?
The maths education community is a network of dedicated teachers, academics and professionals, actively engaged in research, to reach our common goal to significantly improve the quality of maths education across the UK. Discussions and debates regarding pedagogy are alive and well (just look at twitter!) and there is a desire to improve, collaborate and learn from one another.
We offer a structure that helps schools to connect to and deliver on this body research, supporting collaboration in departments to share research more uniformly and through high quality subject specific professional development.
Where do you see the future of Mathematics Mastery?
We’ll never sit still. We’ll continue developing our ideas based on the latest research, working alongside the schools in our partnership to provide highest quality support that helps deliver the best outcomes for students across the UK.