Back from BCME

The appropriately extravagantly titled British Congress for Mathematics Education was earlier this week. And I’m back, refreshed, energised and wondering on a few different things.

The Delegate List:
The congress (read conference) was a who’s who of maths education from far and wide and maths education keeno’s from just as far and wide. The delegate list contained pretty much entire bookshelf of maths resource and theory writers. Plus a spattering from my wish list of stuff I haven’t yet bought. What was almost as interesting as who was there, was who wasn’t. By day three it was clear that anyone who gave even the slightest monkeys about maths education had booked out their diaries for the conference. Sorry, I meant ‘congress’. Despite this, and I may be wrong, but no one from OfSTEDs maths bods had turned up. And nobody from DfE either, though I’m not really sure if DfE has any maths bods. Let’s not credit DfE with the notion that they have anyone remotely maths education related who knows what they’re doing. This was the biggest maths education conference in the UK and is only every few years; OfSTED lead inspector for maths not around. Disappointing. You’d think they’d make a show.

Now onto other notes…

My session on Creative Maths Teaching Ideas
I ran a session and it had an overwhelmingly positive response from people who came along for what was essentially me larking about and getting audience members involved with paint, ping ping balls and bubbles. I will be sharing the ideas from the slides on this blog slowly but surely, with the resources too.

Teachers
I spoke to lots of teachers. We are being worked very bloody hard. And plenty of teachers had paid their own way to the conference in some part if not entirely. Paying for our own CPD. You’re bloody lucky to have us Gove. Stop being a prat about it and treat us right.

Sales people
A minority of sessions were hijacked by sales people. Including one who hilariously claimed that he had cracked the problem of maths anxiety (for which his non mathematically estimated statistics were startling) nationally and that we should all pay £300 for programmable robots to revolutionise maths teaching. Most sessions at the conference were excellent and outstanding CPD. This maths with robots guy was a deluded megalomaniac. And annoyed me a lot, oh well.

Malcolm Swan
This man is a legend. Love all his work… my favourite used to be Mike Askew from the books I had read. And also Gattegno and Polya. Now it’s Swan.

Overall
Working through the masses of notes and tweaked pedagogical ideas I will take back to the classroom will take a lot of work and time. I know that what I have taken back from BCME will add a massive amount to my practice. Looking forward to the next one in 2018. And in the mean time will have to make sure I get out to every other maths ed event/conference/congress or whatever overly elaborate name people want to give it.

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