Making maths and science add up and multiply

Young students in a classroom
ReMSTEP wants to help students understand the real world of maths and science

It is no secret that there is a shortage of qualified primary and secondary science and mathematics teachers across Australia.

Not only that, enrolment of senior school students in science subjects such as biology, chemistry and physics continues to decline.

Victoria is facing similar problems and although recent and national and international data show the state’s students generally perform well in mathematics and science, their interest in both subjects is declining.

Not surprisingly, there is increased desire to engage students with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and a group of Universities, led by the University of Melbourne, is re-thinking the role of classroom teachers in these specialist areas - particularly in primary schools.

With this in mind, the Reconceptualising Maths and Science Teacher Education Programs (ReMSTEP) is a three-year project established in 2015 to deliver new teacher education practices that match contemporary mathematics and science with innovative and engaging teaching methods.

Led by Professor Stephen Dinham, at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, and working closely with collaborators at Deakin, Monash and LaTrobe Universities, ReMSTEP aims to drive major improvements in the quality of mathematics and science learning and teaching.

ReMSTEP is also making undergraduate mathematics and science students aware of  teaching as a career.

In 2013 the University of Melbourne introduced training for specialist primary school mathematics and science teachers.

“We have been developing strategies and approaches that have been shown to make a difference, that have been found to stimulate students’ interest,” Professor Dinham said.

"We want to help students understand the real world of maths and science.”

The partnerships and programs will also drive major improvements in the quality of mathematics and science learning and teaching by creating programs where undergraduate STEM students and pre-service teachers work collaboratively across faculties and specialist centres to create new materials, units of study and expertise in inquiry-based classroom practices.

The second annual ReMSTEP Conference will be held at the Crown Conference Centre in Melbourne on Monday 7 November. See the program here.