Archive of European Projects

Learning math and languages through research and cooperation
Start date: 01 Sep 2014, End date: 31 Aug 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

MatLan builds on the experience gained by the French partner in the MATh.en.JEANS (MeJ) workshops (http://www.mathenjeans.fr/historique-mej), which at this moment is being implemented in 150 schools in France, aiming to valorize students’ creativity and innovation by inviting them to discover and research mathematics . Mathematics in the classroom is too abstract for the students to feel attracted to, but in the workshops they get to mathematically investigate issues that no-one has an answer to yet. MatLan adds onto the MeJ experience a series of new dimensions: - the assessment dimension: we will create guidelines for assessing students' skills (soft skills and mathematical competences) developed through mathematical research within the MeJ workshops; - the inter-cultural dimension: we will encourage the inter-cultural exchanges around mathematical issues; - the multilingualism/ plurilinguism dimension: we will create opportunities for the students’ language learning through collaboration within mathematical research activities; - the formal education dimension: we will prove and promote a possibility for including the MeJ workshop (non-formal education) into the school's curriculum (formal education). The objectives of the project are: - to provide opportunities for high-school students to develop their mathematical skills through conducting mathematical research and collaboration with students from an EU country; - to improve language learning (French language in Romania and English/ Romanian language in France) - to create guidelines for assessing students' skills (soft skills and mathematical competences) developed through mathematical research conducted within the MeJ workshop; - to include the MeJ workshop into the school's curricular provision as an elective course; - to provide opportunities for mathematics and language teachers to share experiences and practices of supporting students in learning mathematics and languages and to collaborate with European colleagues to improve their teaching practices. The project participants are: 80 students from upper secondary schools and 13 teachers of mathematics, foreign languages and ICT from the same schools where the students learn in Cluj, Romania and Briancon, France. The project activities include - 4 transnational project meetings (2 in France and 2 in Romania) - 2 students short-term exchanges (French students come to Romania and Romanian students go to France) - weekly MeJ workshops facilitated by teachers and professional researchers, run in both partner schools throughout the full academic year; - production and validation of pedagogical tools for mathematics teachers: Guidelines for assessing students’ skills (soft skills, mathematical competences) developed through mathematical research; Curriculum of the elective/ optional course: Doing math as researchers do it. The methodology of the project includes a stage of literature review concerning the mathematical and soft skills formation during mathematical research. Based on the findings and on the MeJ facilitator teachers’ observations, the teachers involved in the project team will decide on the specific skills for which assessment instruments will be developed. Then the instruments are developed and sent to experts in the field for feedback. After the instruments are finalized, they will be piloted and validated in the course of action research conducted by the teachers included in the project. In the course of the action research, the teachers will a) test the assessment instruments; b) collect evidence about the students’ skills formation during MeJ workshops. The curriculum of the elective /optional course will be developed by the mathematics teachers based on their MeJ experience and will incorporate the assessments developed in the project. The expected results of the project are: the participating students’ enhanced research skills, foreign language skills, soft skills and intercultural competences; a set of assessment tools and procedures of mathematical and soft skills and guidelines for teachers who use the assessment tools and procedures; a jointly developed elective course curriculum for secondary schools (Doing Math as Researchers Do It); teachers’ improved action research skills; teachers’ improved collaboration with colleagues from the partner country; enhanced capacity of the schools to engage in European projects. In the longer term, the expected impact is that more students will find mathematical research attractive and develop mathematical and soft skills while engaging in such research; teachers will be more innovative in their methods of teaching and assessing students’ skills; more young Europeans will choose a career in research; schools will adopt more attractive and innovative approaches to teaching/ learning; the formal education system will be better prepared to develop a broader set of soft skills in their students.
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