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September 8, 2005

Source: St. Mary's University:

Teaching Teachers

A unique cooperative venture will solve some difficult problems for high school teachers and students here in Nova Scotia, according to Dr. Robert Dawson, a professor in the mathematics and computing science department at Saint Mary’s University.

A 2001 study by the provincial government showed that the demand for high school teachers specializing in mathematics has exceeded the supply, at a time when Nova Scotia’s need for a workforce with strong mathematical skills is greater than ever before.

Now, teachers who trained in other subjects will have an opportunity to add a formal grounding in mathematics and mathematics education, at the university level, to their skills.

This is why Saint Mary's - in fulfilling its mission of community outreach as outlined in the University's Academic Plan – now offers the Certificate in the Mathematical Sciences for Education Program to high school teachers in the province. The Nova Scotia Department of Education has approved this program as an in-service training program, that can be used by teachers to upgrade their teaching licenses.

“Nova Scotia has a challenging and innovative mathematics curriculum, containing some topics that have been introduced since many of today's teachers were in high school. This program will help teachers develop the confidence and expertise so that they in turn can help their students get the best out of the curriculum." says Dr. Dawson.

He indicates that Saint Mary's has already started to work with local school boards, and with other universities in the province, to bring the program to the teachers. This month, the University is offering the program to 70 high school teachers in Truro, Sydney and Mulgrave. The Sydney cohort started the program in April, and the Mulgrave cohort began this summer. The Truro cohort is now joining them for the first time. In each case, the times and locations are chosen to allow working teachers to participate. The teachers taking the program can use what they have learned immediately in the classroom.

Dr. Terry Murphy, Vice-President (Academic and Research) at Saint Mary’s applauds the program as he too certainly views it as a benefit to teachers and students in Nova Scotia.

"By allowing high school teachers to update and improve their skills, we will ensure that students in our province get the best math education," says Dr. Murphy.

"Inspirational, well-motivated and knowledgeable teachers can bring subjects alive for their pupils, helping to increase the take-up of courses in mathematics," he adds.

The Nova Scotia Minister of Education, Jamie Muir, praises the efforts of the Certificate in the Mathematical Sciences for Education Program.

"This program is a great example of education partners working together to help meet a need in our public education system," says Mr. Muir.

"Math is such an exciting and dynamic subject, and I am thrilled that we are going to be able to provide our teachers with up-to-date training that will directly benefit our students,” he says.

Saint Mary's University is known for its community outreach projects, both in Canada and around the world. Saint Mary's, founded in 1802, is home to one of Canada's leading business schools, a Science Faculty widely known for its cutting-edge research, a comprehensive and innovative Arts Faculty and a new Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research.


For More Information:

Paul Fitzgerald
Public Affairs Officer
Saint Mary's University, Public Affairs
(902) 420.5514



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