Track plenaries

Track 1: Scaling-up with multipliers in face-to-face professional development courses

Dr Josette Farrugia: Long-term Teacher Professional Development: Lessons learnt from PRIMAS

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This presentation will identify and describe some lessons learnt from the experience of providing long-term professional development (PD) to a group of 50 Maltese teachers participating in the EU funded FP7 project aimed at promoting IBL in Mathematics and Science classrooms across Europe, PRIMAS. The teachers, who participated on a voluntary basis, were provided with professional development in small groups of five who met every two weeks with a PD facilitator (multiplier) for two scholastic years. The group of 10 multipliers involved, met once every two weeks with the team of university lecturers who were participating in PRIMAS. The two-hour sessions focused on a variety of matters: working out tasks/activities from the PRIMAS PD modules; discussing ways of adapting tasks and modules to the local needs; and sharing and discussing challenges and problems that teachers encountered together with feedback from schools. Together they reflected on ways of overcoming the difficulties. This presentation will be based on feedback about the model of professional development adopted, its effectiveness and limitations with emphasis on the experience of the multipliers. Data were obtained through interviews with multipliers and teachers; observations of PD sessions and lessons; as well as teachers’ reflective journals.


Josette Farrugia

Dr. Josette Farrugia, has taught chemistry in Malta at the secondary and    post-secondary level for a number of years. She has also worked as the Principal Subject Area Officer for Sciences with the Matriculation and Secondary Education Certificate Examinations Board of the University of Malta (MATSEC) and is currently a Senior Lecturer in Science Education with the Department of Mathematics, Science and Technical Education of the Faculty of Education at the University of Malta. Her research interests relate to various aspects of science education and educational assessment and include: problem solving; practical work and investigations; school-based assessment; inquiry-based learning and students' underand concepts - especially those related to chemistry.


Track 2: Blended learning concepts and e-learning support

Dr Alison Clark-Wilson: Blended learning and e-learning support within the context of Cornerstone Maths - The changing culture of teachers' professional development 

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Cornerstone Maths is a collaborative US/UK project between Stanford Research International and London Knowledge Lab that has been designed to address (at scale) the underuse of dynamic mathematical technologies by lower secondary pupils in English schools. This is being achieved through ongoing design-based research that has resulted in three curriculum units of work that address the universally acknowledged ‘hard to teach’ topics of linear function, geometric similarity and algebraic patterns and expressions. The materials are designed to support mastery of these key concepts through context-based sequences of activities that combine pupils’ materials, bespoke software, teacher materials and professional development. This plenary will focus on the design of the professional development, which blends face-to-face work, synchronous, asynchronous and on-demand online activity and an online teacher community. Data from the current project, which involves 243 teachers from 107 schools, will be presented that will highlight how teachers are responding to such opportunities and the implications of these findings for the ongoing design of professional development.


Alison Clark WilsonAlison originally qualified in chemical engineering before training to teach secondary mathematics. She taught in inner city schools where she became both a Head of Mathematics and was recognised as an Advanced Skills Teacher. She holds a Master’s degree and doctorate in mathematics education. She moved to the University of Chichester in 2001 where she designed and led postgraduate courses and projects for practising secondary mathematics teachers, often with an emphasis on the development of innovative pedagogies involving the use of mathematical technologies. She directed the UK evaluation of Texas Instruments’ TI-Nspire and the European evaluation of their TI-Nspire TI-Navigator network classroom system. From 2009-2012 Alison had the role of the project lead partner in the EU Comenius funded project EdUmatics, which involved 20 Partners from seven EU countries. Alison took up her current role in 2013 where she is a full-time researcher on the Cornerstone Maths project. She has edited and authored 3 books, the most recent of which is The Mathematics Teacher in the Digital Age (with Ornella Robutti and Nathalie Sinclair, published 2014).

She is an active member of many of the UK professional and academic communities to include: the Association of Teachers of Mathematics, The Mathematical Association and a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications. She is an elected member of the Executive Committee of the British Society for the Learning of Mathematics and she convenes the mathematics education special interest group on behalf of the British Educational Research Association.

Track 3: Disseminating and scaling-up through materials

Prof. Dr Manuela Welzel-Breuer: Prepared to use it? - Disseminating and Scaling-Up Professional Development through materials

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A huge amount of excellent teaching and learning materials already exists in Europe, but there is a slightly increasing practice and experience only at using these materials within regular classroom activities and outside. All over Europe, teachers have multiple possibilities to use ready-made and tested teaching and learning materials in their science classrooms. International projects – e.g. funded by the European Union - , specialised companies, schoolbook publishers, universities and teacher training institutions, offer these materials. Research results from science education show, that there are good chances for improving the classroom practice and scaling up professional development if the materials are appropriately used and adapted to the specific needs within the schools of different countries. Starting with a view on existing practices, with this presentation, I intend to present selected resources ready to use for science teaching and teacher education. Ways on how to scale up professional development by networking will be discussed. Some experiences and research findings will be presented in order to encourage the trial.


Manuela WelzelBreuer

Manuela Welzel-Breuer accomplished her PhD study in 1994 at the University of Bremen, Germany, focussing individual learning processes of single students through analysing videotapes in order to investigate their interactions while learning physics. Since 1999, Manuela Welzel-Breuer is working as Professor for Physics and Physics Education at the University of Education Heidelberg. There, she is educating pre-service science teachers of different school types. In addition, she is involved in science education research and development in the fields of physics education for different age groups, the use of computer aided learning environments and the design of effective teaching-learning environments. Being internationally active, she co-ordinated a European project on the use of computer aided teaching and learning materials (CAT) in science education, which resulted in an international teacher training course offer. For several years, Manuela Welzel-Breuer served as member of the executive board of the German Physical Society (DPG) and the European Science Education Research Association (ESERA). Since 2011 she is leading ESERA as President.

Track 4: Professional learning communities

Prof. Dr Ulla Runesson: Learning in three levels - students`, teacher´s and educators` learning from the Learning study

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The Learning study was introduced in Hong Kong and Sweden some fifteen years ago. It combines the teacher driven Lesson study with the theoretical grounded Design experiment. In the Learning study, the educator (acting as a facilitator) and the teachers have a shared goal; to gain knowledge about the nature of the object of learning in order to enhance students’ learning. In an iterative process of planning and evaluating lessons the teacher team collects data that is used for inquiring how teaching affect students’ learning. In this process a theory of learning, commonly variation theory (Marton, Runesson & Tsui, 2004; Marton, 2014,) is used as a guiding principle. Several studies have demonstrated that the Learning study has effect, not just on students’ learning, but on teachers’ professional development too. However, the educator can benefit from the Learning study also. In the presentation I will demonstrate how and what educators can learn from participating in the Learning study.


Ulla Runesson

Ulla Runesson is professor in education at School of Education and Communication, and Faculty Dean at Jönköping University, Sweden. She is also a visiting professor at Wits school of education, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. Her research interest is learning and teaching in mathematics and the teaching profession in general. Ulla Runesson has been involved in international research projects studying and comparing classrooms in different countries. Several of her publications are based on research in cooperation with colleagues in Hong Kong, Australia and South Africa. She is also engaged in the development of variation theory, and Learning Study.

 Final Plenary Discussion

Robert Wilne: Ten years down the road: Scaled-up teacher professional development: Consolidating the need, and the experiences, models, trends and visions to goal achievement

The Final Plenary is future-oriented and aims to bring together all findings, thoughts and approaches that have been outlined in the four conference tracks. Key Final Plenary questions are: What is the current field status? What remains to be done to achieve a real scaled-up professional development? Whose responsibility is it to ensure a scaled-up professional development in math and science education? Which strategies are to be employed by which actors in order to achieve goals? The Final Plenary seeks to identify core, European-wide issues that need to be discussed and implemented within the next years. It begins with a panel discussion between the chairs of the four conference tracks. Presidents and heads of professional development centres and institutions will also present their roles and perspectives. After examining the conclusions reached during the conference presentations as well as during PD centre meetings the discussion will then be opened for contributions from the entire plenum.


Robert WilneRobert Wilne joined the NCETM as Director of Secondary in June 2014. He has taught mathematics in English state and independent secondary schools (ages 11-18) since 1996, and has also been a school governor in two London schools in areas of high social deprivation. Robert read Mathematics at Cambridge and graduated in 1995. He flirted briefly with the idea of being a theatre director, but instead started teaching Mathematics in April 1996. He became Head of Department at Highgate School, London, in September 2000, and over the next twelve years took on a range of project development and leadership roles in the school, becoming a Deputy Head in 2008. In January 2012 He was appointed to be the founding Headteacher of the London Academy of Excellence in East London, the first sixth form to open as part of the "free school" programme introduced by the current coalition government.

Robert wholeheartedly believes that educational research must shape, structure and underpin the professional development of teachers. In setting up a brand new school he seized the opportunity to build a coherent programme of CPD that drew deeply on the findings of thinkers such as Guy Claxton, Carol Dweck, John Hattie and Dylan Wiliam. He is delighted that his current role at the NCETM is enabling him to develop this further, across the national scale.

Long-term Teacher Professional Development: Lessons learnt from PRIMAS

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The project mascil has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme under grant agreement n°320693