Conference & 60th Anniversary Dinner 2024

Conference & 60th Anniversary Dinner 2024

IMTA Conference 2024: Embedding Inclusion in the Maths Classroom

The Irish Mathematics Teachers’ Association (IMTA) is thrilled to share the resounding success of our Annual Conference in 2024, held at Maynooth University on Saturday, February 24th. This event brought together educators, experts, and thought leaders to explore and advance the landscape of mathematics education.

Keynote Address by Aibhin Bray: Nurturing Success for At-Risk Learners in Mathematics

The conference keynote address was delivered by Dr Aibhin Bray from Trinity College. Her presentation on “Supporting Success for At-Risk Learners in Mathematics” set an inspiring tone, emphasizing the importance of tailored support for diverse learners. Bray’s insights into addressing challenges faced by students at risk resonated deeply with our dedicated community of mathematics educators. The work of Access Maths was outlined with some interesting opportunities for practitioners to reflect on their own mathematical beliefs and practices.

Jason Kelly’s Address: Inclusion in Education

Jason Kelly, representing the Inspectorate, provided a crucial perspective on inclusion in education. His address delved into the intricacies of fostering an inclusive environment in mathematics classrooms. This contribution further enriched the conference’s overarching theme of inclusion in the math classroom, sparking valuable discussions among participants.

Inclusion in the Math Classroom

The thematic focus on inclusion permeated the conference, with parallel sessions offering diverse perspectives and practical strategies. Sessions explored topics such as “Uplifting Maths Education through Digital Games,” “Teaching Through Problem Solving,” and “Universal Design for Learning.” These sessions provided actionable insights and methodologies to create inclusive and engaging learning environments.

Parallel Speakers: A Tapestry of Expertise

The conference boasted an array of parallel speakers covering a spectrum of topics. From exploring new pedagogical approaches to delving into research applications, these sessions showcased the breadth of expertise present at the conference. Participants benefited from sessions like “Playful Patterns for TY,” “Virtual Manipulatives & Simulations,” and “The Influence of the Growth Mindset on Students’ Mathematical Resilience.”

Professional Development Opportunities

A key highlight was the emphasis on professional development, with sessions like “Eoghan Long – Teacher Professional Development” offering valuable insights into ongoing efforts to enhance educators’ skills and knowledge. Long’s presentation underscored the importance of continuous learning for educators to stay at the forefront of mathematics education.

Networking and Collaboration

In addition to substantive sessions, the conference provided ample networking opportunities. Participants connected with peers, shared experiences, and built a collaborative community dedicated to advancing mathematics education. The sense of camaraderie and shared passion for teaching and learning mathematics was palpable, contributing to the overall success of the event.

Beyond Numbers: Philippa McIntosh

The conference concluded with a wonderful talk from Philippa McIntosh, a Transition Year student from Bandon Grammar School. Philippa recently won the Best Runner Up Individual Award at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition.

Philippa is dyslexic and her fascinating research project investigated readability issues for dyslexic students with the Junior Cycle maths exam papers.

At the event Philippa presented her research findings and set out her recommendations for change, to make maths exams more accessible for students with dyslexia

60th Anniversary Gala Dinner at Castleknock Hotel

The celebration extended beyond the conference itself. The previous night, on February 23rd, we marked our 60th anniversary with a Gala dinner at the Castleknock Hotel. This special event was a momentous occasion, allowing us to reflect on our rich history and honor the contributions of those who have been part of the IMTA journey. During the Gala dinner, Elizabeth E Oldham was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing her exceptional dedication and contributions to the field of mathematics education.

The IMTA Conference 2024 was a resounding success, embodying our commitment to advancing mathematics education. The combination of impactful keynote addresses, insightful parallel sessions, and opportunities for networking made it a transformative experience for all participants. As we continue to navigate the dynamic landscape of education, conferences like these play a pivotal role in equipping educators with the knowledge and tools necessary to create inclusive, engaging, and effective mathematics classrooms.

We extend our heartfelt thanks to all speakers, participants, and sponsors who contributed to making the IMTA Conference 2024 a memorable and enriching experience. Stay tuned for updates on future events and initiatives as we continue to shape the future of mathematics education together.

A video of photo highlights from the 2 days can be viewed here.

Slideshow of images used at Anniversary Dinner – Anniversary Dinner Slide Deck 2024

Slideshow of images used at Conference – IMTA Conference Slide Deck 2024

Address by Chairperson at 60th Anniversary Celebration

As a very famous Queen Elizabeth once said to open her speech, A chairde. That of course, being our very own Queen Elizabeth Oldham, IMTA royalty, who stood to address you all 10 years ago.  And like all good royalty, Elizabeth has delegated the delivery of this evening’s address to her minions; in the absence of an Uachtarain, a Taoiseach, a Tanáiste or an Aire Oideachais, the baton has been passed to me to try to take up where Elizabeth left off 10 years ago. Elizabeth’s wonderful speech is available in your special 60th anniversary newsletter which you have already received.

Ladies and gentlemen, esteemed members of the Irish Maths Teachers Association, distinguished guests, and fellow math enthusiasts, as we gather to commemorate the illustrious 60th anniversary of the Irish Maths Teachers Association, we embark on a journey through time and the transformative impact our association has had on students, teachers, and the landscape of mathematics education in Ireland over the past 60 years

 

Allow me please to tell you three very short stories about 3 wonderful students: Aoife, Abdul and Roisin. Our journey begins in the past, where a young and inquisitive girl named Aoife found herself captivated by the world of mathematics. Under the guidance of a dedicated IMTA member, Ms. O’Sullivan, Aoife’s mathematical journey took on a trajectory that would shape her life in profound ways.

Ms. O’Sullivan, a passionate mathematics teacher and an active member of the IMTA, instilled in Aoife not just the rules and formulas of mathematics but a deep appreciation for the subject’s beauty and elegance. The IMTA’s influence on Ms. O’Sullivan echoed in every lesson, transforming the classroom into a vibrant hub of intellectual curiosity. Aoife vividly recalls how Ms. O’Sullivan, armed with challenging IMTA competition problems and an infectious enthusiasm for the subject, ignited a spark within her that would fuel a lifelong love for mathematics. Aoife would always know when Ms O’Sullivan had been at an IMTA meeting as she returned to the classroom more enthused than she was the day before, if that was possible, armed with resources, lesson plans and ideas that would further enhance her teaching and Aoife’s learning.

From her very first year in secondary school, Aoife couldn’t contain her excitement for participating in IMTA events. The tales of mathematical conquests shared by her older siblings had fuelled her imagination even before she entered the hallowed halls of formal education. The anticipation of participating in the team maths competition became a constant source of motivation for Aoife, a goal she aspired to reach from the moment she stepped into the world of secondary education.

 

Aoife’s connection with the IMTA extended beyond the classroom. Eager to contribute to the mathematical community, she actively participated in organizing quizzes within her school, an endeavour that not only honed her organizational skills but also deepened her sense of belonging to a community that valued mathematical prowess. The camaraderie among students, fostered by the IMTA, became a central theme in Aoife’s educational journey, emphasizing that mathematics is not just about solving problems but about sharing the joy of discovery with like-minded individuals.

As she progressed through her secondary education, Aoife’s involvement with the IMTA competitions became more than just an academic pursuit. It became a journey of personal growth, an exploration of her own mathematical potential, and a realization that mathematics is not merely a subject but a living, breathing entity that connects individuals across time and space.

This transformative experience, shaped by Ms. O’Sullivan’s dedication and the vibrant community fostered by the IMTA, laid the foundation for Aoife’s future as a mathematics teacher. Little did she know that the impact of her teacher’s association with the IMTA would not only mould her own educational journey but also inspire her to become a torchbearer of mathematical curiosity for future generations.

 

Transitioning to the present, we encounter Abdul, a sixth-year student whose academic journey has been profoundly shaped by the IMTA’s advocacy efforts, creating an educational environment where both students and teachers flourish.

From his first foray into secondary education, Abdul felt the reverberations of the IMTA’s commitment to mathematics advocacy. The association’s tireless submissions to educational bodies, spearheaded by dedicated members like his teacher Ms. O’Connor, have transformed the landscape of Abdul’s educational experience. The IMTA’s dedication to enhancing mathematics education has created a space where intellectual curiosity is not just encouraged but celebrated—a culture that Abdul finds himself immersed in each day.

However, Abdul’s connection with the IMTA extends beyond the academic realm. Drawn by the allure of IMTA competitions, he found himself not just solving mathematical problems but embracing the collaborative spirit that defines team participation.

As a participant in these competitions, Abdul not only developed strong problem-solving skills but also discovered the joy of learning alongside peers who shared his passion for mathematics. Abdul’s school won the regional round of the Pi Maths quiz and they attended the national final that year in Maynooth University. It was a brilliant day out, travelling with his classmates on the bus, the laughing and joking when necessary but what he loved most was that he was surrounded also by some serious people who also valued being on their own and appreciated silence at appropriate times. He had always seen the boys on the hurling and football teams go to matches and constantly hear the announcements on the intercom lauding their successes. TBH, they were rarely successful at all in these sporting endeavours but he appreciated all the same that it was important for their participation to be acknowledged. When they won the regional round of the Pi contest, Abdul’s class all clapped when it was announced on the intercom. He couldn’t believe it; he felt so proud and so very special at the same time. He knew sport would never be his thing and to know that his achievements meant the same as the others meant the world to him.

Inspired by the IMTA’s advocacy on behalf of students and teachers, Abdul found himself actively engaged in school activities, taking part in initiatives that echoed the association’s commitment to creating an environment where everyone could flourish. His involvement in school quizzes and math-related events became a testament to the IMTA’s influence, manifesting in the ways Abdul sought to contribute to the mathematical community within his school.

The IMTA, through its advocacy efforts, not only enriched Abdul’s academic experience but also instilled in him a sense of responsibility to pay it forward. As he navigates through the challenges of sixth-year studies, Abdul envisions a future where the advocacy efforts of the IMTA continue to shape the educational landscape for generations to come. The association’s dedication to supporting students and teachers alike resonates deeply with Abdul, inspiring him to become an active participant in the ongoing narrative of mathematical excellence and community building.

Abdul has no intention of studying maths in later life at the moment as he really wants to work in the area of peace and reconciliation and advocating on behalf of people who cannot speak up for themselves. He has new found confidence from that Pi Quiz and hearing his name mentioned was like winning his very own All-Ireland final.

 

Fast forward to the future, and our story finishes with Róisín, a remarkable mathematician standing at the pinnacle of mathematical achievement. With a mind ablaze with innovation and a heart fuelled by the passion for mathematical discovery, Róisín emerges as a pioneer, having solved one of the most elusive problems known to humankind—the P versus NP problem, one of the esteemed Millennium Prize Problems.

Her groundbreaking solution not only places her in the annals of mathematical history but propels her into a role that transcends the boundaries of academia. Róisín, now Professor Róisín Ó Mathúin, holds the esteemed position of a mathematics lecturer at the world’s foremost institutes for mathematics, an institution that has soared to unparalleled heights in 2064, recognized as the top university globally.

In lecture halls adorned with holographic displays and surrounded by eager minds hungry for knowledge, Professor Ó Mathúin imparts not just the solutions to complex equations but a philosophy that bridges the gap between traditional mathematical principles and the cutting-edge technologies of her time. Her classes are a symphony of mathematical elegance and futuristic innovation, where students are not just recipients of knowledge but active participants in the continuous evolution of mathematical thought.

Róisín’s journey, from solving the P versus NP problem to guiding the mathematical minds of the future, mirrors the spirit of the IMTA—embracing change, pushing boundaries, and ensuring that the pursuit of mathematical excellence transcends generations. In this future world, the IMTA remains a beacon of inspiration, a timeless foundation upon which Róisín, and countless others, have built their mathematical legacies. Roisín is currently preparing to deliver the Fr Ingram Memorial lecture for the 100th anniversary of the IMTA.

As we reflect on this journey, we must recognize that each step, each achievement, and each success was made possible by you—the dedicated members, volunteers, committee, and council members of the Irish Maths Teachers Association. Your unwavering commitment has shaped the past, empowered the present, and is paving the way for a future where mathematics and its enthusiasts thrive.

In closing, let us take pride in the collective impact we have had and will continue to have. The IMTA’s legacy is not just a celebration of the past 60 years; it is a testament to the enduring power of a community united by a shared passion for mathematics. Thank you for your dedication, and here’s to many more years of inspiring mathematical excellence through the Irish Maths Teachers Association!

Ciarán Duffy