Award a first for NZ maths educator

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Professor Glenda Anthony and MERGA vice-president
Professor Gloria Stillman

A Massey University mathematics teaching specialist has become the first New Zealander to be awarded a prestigious MERGA career research medal.

Professor Glenda Anthony received the award at the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia’s annual conference in Melbourne this month.

The award recognises her sustained and distinguished contribution to research in mathematics education in Australasia and internationally.

Professor Anthony, who is co-director of the Centre of Excellence for Research in Mathematics Education, says the award is a “great thrill”.

“This is a first for New Zealand and reflects the growing quality and impact of research in mathematics education that is being undertaken by New Zealanders.”

The Palmerston North-based academic is a leader in mathematics education and in 2011 spent seven weeks in the United States on a Fulbright-Harkness New Zealand Fellowship.

She is currently working on a three-year government-funded research project championing an innovative approach to mathematics teacher education.

The study centres on helping beginning teachers learn new forms of “ambitious mathematics teaching”. The approach supports learners to do mathematics competently but also make sense of it and be able to use it to solve problems.

Professor Anthony says she enjoys working with research students and colleagues in projects that involve teachers and students in the classroom. “In these projects we are all co-learners together and can collectively achieve a lot more by combining our strengths and expertise.

“Mathematics is about learning to solve problems. Working alongside teachers and students to become great problem solvers through respecting their thinking and their ideas, using their thinking as a resource and an asset, is a great part of my job.”

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