Friday, August 3, 10:30-11:00, SUB Ballroom D, Theme: Practice

This talk will focus on a research project that explores the diverse mathematical knowledges of rural and remote students in Australia, and how teachers can draw on these knowledges when teaching “school mathematics”. Specifically, we focus on spatial reasoning skills because there is a proven link between spatial reasoning skills and mathematics achievement and it is known that these skills can be developed through targeted training programs (Lowrie, Logan, & Ramful, 2017). With this in mind, this project explores what a spatial reasoning training program may look like in diverse rural and remote communities in Australia, and its impact on students’ mathematics achievement.

In this project we draw on considerations of spatial geographies (e.g., Green, 2008) and recognise that place and space are influential factors in students’ learning. We recognise that the students’ spatial reasoning skills will be influenced by where they live, and their varied lives in their communities outside school.  To explore this, case studies are being undertaken in rural and remote communities around Australia. Specifically, students are participating in activities that focus on their understanding and navigation of their community.  It is anticipated that students’ understandings of community, and the nature and use of their spatial navigation skills in and out of school will vary.

Understanding these variations will enable the development of tailored spatial training programs that draw on the diverse knowledges of rural and remote students. With the link between mathematics achievement and spatial reasoning skills, this tailored program has the potential to address the disproportionate achievement of rural and remote students in mathematics.