Over the last four years I’ve discovered many unique insights into primary maths teaching from (and with) the wonderful teachers I’ve worked with in Cumbria.
It’s now time to feed this new understanding of primary maths teaching back into the mainstream world of maths education. I’ll therefore be running courses outside of Cumbria (starting with courses for teachers of mixed year classes for the St. Helen’s Hub in January 2019). I’ll also be presenting a double session at the conference of the Association of Teachers of Mathematics (ATM) in April.
I’ve also been seriously considering returning to academia and studying for my PhD. I was developing a PhD application in 2011 but I put it on hold to campaign on policy issues instead (as there seemed to be no point in pushing back the boundaries of knowledge when all knowledge and expertise were being persecuted).
As part of my thinking I’ve met with many potential PhD supervisors. Their response has been fascinating I can’t thank them enough for their time. The essence of it is that they all agree that I cannot do a PhD on what I already know – i.e. the aspects of expert primary maths teaching that I’ve discovered with the teachers of Cumbria. I just need to get on and write that up in a series of books. So I’ve been working with Dr Naomi Norman to put together book proposals.
But a seriously exciting insight appeared when one of my mentors (Yvette Solomon at MMU) suggested that I study for a PhD on the co-production of primary maths CPD. She had spotted a key aspect of what’s different about the professional development I run. It’s not about me rolling out a big idea or a product. It’s all about starting from, gathering, co-developing and sharing the professional skills of teachers. The more I thought about this and talked about it with different mentors the more it made sense. Co-production is at the heart of everything I’ve done as a teacher, for the Royal Society of Arts, (where I’ve worked on the capacity of discussion forums to generate 21st Century Enlightenment) and in politics and policy work – where I’ve been working on (and have written a book about) the co-production of healthcare. I can’t think of anything more professionally exhilerating than working on this topic. My next step is to develop my PhD proposal.