Review of Two Teaching Strategies for the ATINER Conference




Julie Albert

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In May 2023 I was able to attend the 25th Annual International Conference on Education at the Athens Institute for Education and Research in Athens, Greece. The conference had about 70 professionals in attendance including: professors, program directors, lecturers and research assistants and was focused on university level instruction. I truly enjoyed the city, peoples, food, and the conference itself. After listening to over 20 presentations from all over the United States and from over twenty other countries I have decided to focus on my two favorite topics. The first presentation was from Abigail Gonzales, Research Associate, University of the Philippines, College of Education, master’s candidate. Her presentation titled “Popularizing Math: Application of Mathematical Thinking Processes in Citizen Sciences” focused on the integration of the National Council for Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) five processes within the Science curriculum. The five processes are Problem Solving, Communication, Reasoning and Proof, Connections and Representation and are primarily used within a mathematics curriculum. Ms. Gonzales’ focus was on the integration of these processes in the field of science and their important role in the learning process for science students as well. Given that at least two of the five processes show up in any unit of science, the retention rate among students was more significant. Connections was the most used process which quite literally means connecting the new science topic to ideas familiar to the student. The second most used was Problem Solving which takes students to the most depth of learning. The least popular process was Reasoning and Proof which guides the students into a variety of methods of checking for accuracy and making sure that the answer makes sense. Ironically, the idea of making sure that your scientific observations made sense was the lowest ranking of uses. Her data show both that these NCTM processes do integrate into the science curriculum and are proving to show successes throughout the science field.
The second presentation I would like to highlight is “Training Preservice Mathematics Teachers to Pose Good Questions for an Online College Algebra Course” presented by Dr. Carol Bell, a Professor from Northern Michigan University. Dr. Bell recapped a project her education majors had been working on to improve the writing of good problem-solving questions. The students in the study were junior and senior level undergraduate education majors. They practiced posing good questions, studied why this would be important and practiced the questions on their own classmates. This is intriguing to me because I teach prospective elementary education majors and I see the significance in providing our students with opportunities to see actual problems from the STAAR tests and to develop questions that would provide experience for them to later use in their own classrooms. Dr. Bell’s presentation made me realize the necessity to engage our students with higher-level questioning. As future educators these students will have better success challenging their students. This is a practice that would be very meaningful for the students at SHSU.
I am very appreciative to the Odyssey Program for providing me the opportunity to attend this conference. I found it both educational and engaging. Meeting with colleagues from around the world and listening to their interests in both research and projects was very enlightening. Hopefully this conference will be one of many in the future.