Adding it up: New U of Regina program aims to help teachers feel more comfortable with math

The University of Regina has created a new program that acknowledges even teachers sometimes need help with math.

Kathy Nolan, a professor of mathematics education at the University of Regina, said the course was created to fill a gap.

The program consists of a 10-course certificate delivered after regular school hours over a two-year period.    

Participants finish with a certificate in teaching elementary school mathematics.

Nolan said the university noticed there were not enough math courses available for elementary school teachers, or those in training.

"They're generalists and they're going to teach a number of subjects, and so we decided that it was important to offer more professional development in mathematics and teaching it," she said.

Nolan said the course focuses on mathematics concepts, a shift away from the previous approach, which was more limited to procedures.

Although some of the participants are enthusiastic about math, Nolan said others had bad memories of learning math at school.

"They don't have very much confidence, maybe they're anxious about teaching math and so we recognize that they probably just need more experiences with the mathematics," she said.

"And more professional development, so they have greater comfort and they have maybe more ideas and strategies for teaching math in more student-centred and engaging ways."

The course covers topics including spatial reasoning, modelling and representation, as well as teaching in a way that recognizes not all students learn the same way.