Online professional development: A level Maths 'Pick n Mix'

Thursday 9th December 2021

As in-person professional development is still proving to be something of a challenge in some locations (due to COVID protocols), we decided to repeat last year’s online A level Maths PD Festival. As always, large events like this generally benefit from a review before repetition, so that's exactly what we did.

We asked ourselves, "What were the key charactieristics of this event, and what are the particular benefits to teachers?" Having decided that, from a teacher’s perspective, the ability to choose just those elements that they want – and as few or as many - was a definite positive, we renamed our event A level Maths ‘Pick n Mix’. We retained the 90-minute duration, refined the content to keep the event within a three-week window, and we were ready to go…

The first two sessions were generic options, covering the overarching themes of technology and problem solving. We retained these sessions because, although they don’t address particular items of content, they're areas that teachers find very useful and rewarding. Other sessions, as would be expected, covered key themes in pure maths, mechanics and statistics. In all of these sessions, at least some reference was made to problem solving, reasoning and the use of technology. And, as always in our professional development sessions, considerable emphasis was given to pedagogical matters.

Demonstrating the theory of moments live online, using everyday equipment.

Booking rates for the twelve sessions were initially very positive, although they did slow after a while. We noticed that quite a number of teachers booked several (each timed to last from 4:30–6pm on consecutive weekdays excluding Friday). This isn't the place to conduct the next review of this initiative, but suffice to say that the approach does offer a very cost-effective and flexible approach to professional development that seems to suit a subset of maths teachers. We hope to be able to offer a similar style of professional development to address teachers’ needs in Further Mathematics in 2022. Please keep an eye out for these events on our North West regional events page.

By Martin Bamber

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