World ORT teachers explore new directions in maths education

How to encourage more teenagers to learn maths to a higher level is the burning question at the Hatter Seminar.

In our increasingly technological world, kids can count on maths to get ahead. The trouble is that fewer teenagers are learning the subject to an advanced level. It’s a dilemma that this week’s World ORT Hatter Seminar aims to address.

The Seminar has attracted 19 teachers from 12 countries to London to hear from some of the world’s leading figures in maths education as well as from each other.

World ORT President Emeritus Sir Maurice Hatter, who sponsors the Seminar, urged the teachers to seize the opportunity the event presented them.

To lead in science and technology students must master both fundamentals of maths for daily life and work, and reach into more advanced mathematics that open the doors to a wide range of careers. Science and technology are advancing at an exponential rate and we are limiting our students if we do not prepare them mathematically.

Mathematics is the lingua franca of STEM and also permeates the arts, humanities and computing, world ORT Director General and CEO Shmuel Sisso said. “This Seminar looks to a not so distant future when the gender gap in STEM subjects will close providing all students with a set of critical and analytical thinking tools for a successful career.”


It is time to add the ‘M’ to make STEM

Dr Tahani Malabi, Director of the World ORT YOUniversity providing extra-curricular enrichment for Arab teenagers in Jerusalem, doesn’t need convincing.

Hatter Seminar Dr Tahani

Dr Tahani Malabi, Director of the World ORT YOUniversity in Israel

We have been running courses geared towards science, technology and engineering but not maths,” she said. “We’re looking at changing that and being at the Hatter Seminar is an opportunity for me to meet other professionals and learn from their experiences in teaching maths. It’s time to add the ‘M’ to make ‘STEM’.


The Hatter Seminar, all about sharing knowledge

The first of the speakers at the Hatter Seminar was Professor Hugh Burkhardt, who showed teachers the benefits of formative assessment lessons – using feedback to initiate discussions with and between students that help them to correct their misconceptions.

“The Hatter Seminar is a great idea. The idea of building a community is absolutely great,” said Professor Burkhardt, who has led the internationally renowned Shell Centre for Mathematical Education since 1982.

Professor Hugh Burkhardt

Professor Hugh Burkhardt