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Late last week Alison, Tricia, Di and I had the pleasure of visiting Angela Rogers and Tom Moore (one of our new PhD students) and 10 of our MTP students at St Bernard’s College in Essendon. We signed an MOU with the leadership of the school, confirming an exciting partnership. My thanks to Angela for the following information about this initiative.

Over the past three weeks 10 of our highest achieving 2nd Year MTP students completed a Mathematics Specialisation placement at St Bernard’s College Essendon. This placement was a trial for the MTP Numeracy and Literacy specialisation placements beginning in 2019 and was a part of the new and exciting research and innovation collaboration RMIT SoE has with St Bernard’s College.

The RMIT MTP students did an amazing job helping to implement a new approach to teaching and learning Mathematics in Year 7 at St Bernard’s. This involved a big shift from traditional text-book led curriculum to using rich tasks where students were encouraged to make their own learning choices.

With the support of Di Siemon, our 10 students introduced to St Bernard’s a research-based assessment-guided approach to improving student numeracy outcomes – Scaffolding Numeracy in the Middle Years. Our students had been introduced to this approach in their Numeracy Courses in the MTP and relished the opportunity to take their learning to the next level by implementing and modelling for the St Bernard’s teachers how this could successfully run at the school.

All 280 Year 7 boys were assessed using the SNMY tool and placed in their appropriate learning zone for a targeted teaching session once a week. The RMIT students then modelled for the teachers at St Bernard’s how to target the needs of these students. The students not only independently taught groups, they planned, reflected and modelled for the St Bernard’s teachers how to facilitate the SNMY sessions- an amazing feat for pre-service teachers! Some of our students have even volunteered to return to St Bernard’s on a weekly basis to support the teachers in their continued teaching of the SNMY- a sign of their amazing commitment and passion!

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The St Bernard’s research centre currently under construction

Overall the placement was a great success for both our MTP students and St Bernard’s College. We look forward to working further with St Bernard’s in all areas of the curriculum- not just maths, particularly when their wonderful research centre is completed later in 2018. The research centre will be available to primary and secondary schools across all 3 sectors in the North West of Melbourne and will provide many fantastic opportunities for collaborative projects with RMIT SoE researchers.

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A HUGE congratulations to our 10 MTP students. And a big thanks to Angela Rogers and Tom Moore, who expertly supported our students, as well as Di Siemon and Tricia McLaughlin who helped realise this great partnership.

RMIT should be very proud of these amazing pre-service teachers and our innovative staff who are in demand!

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