No maths for top kids

In a recent article for the Sunday Telegraph entitled “No maths for top kids”,  Miawling Lam writes on how the acute shortage of trained maths high school teachers is seriously impacting the ability of mathematically advanced students to get a quality education in the subject.

The president of the Australian Mathematical Society, Nalini Joshi, sent out a message to all members of the AustMS regarding this article:

Dear AustMS Members,

The attached article appeared in the Sunday Telegraph yesterday on
01 March 2009. I have been advised that it is now time for all of us
concerned about mathematics education to write to our local Members of

A simple email will do and the following are two possible model letters:
“Dear X, I saw the attached article in the weekend paper. Can you please
tell me what steps the government is taking to deal with this? Yours
sincerely, Y.”
“Dear X, I am very worried about what will happen to our school kids’
education when there are no more mathematics teachers. See attached
article.  What will the government do to solve this problem? Sincerely, Y.”
For those not in NSW who wouldn’t get the Sunday Telegraph normally, you
could try another model:
“Dear X, A friend sent me the attached article from the Sunday Telegraph.
This is a national problem! What steps is the government taking to deal with
this? Hoping to hear from you, Y.”

The email addresses of federal members of parliament can be found at

Links to state MP’s emails are at or obtainable through:
South Australia
Western Australia

Kind regards

2 Responses

  1. I am curious to know what existing resources are available to assist would-be teachers of senior mathematics? I studied computer science and maths for my undergrad degree and am now doing a graduate diploma in order to become a teacher. Unfortunately although I am willing and technically qualified to teach senior mathematics:
    a) my undergrad degree was quite a few years ago
    b) the maths I studied was of little practical use and has been forgotten
    c) my grad dip course does not specifically cover the teaching of senior maths (or any maths for that matter)
    d) I did not have good teachers at either school or uni
    e) my ‘student teaching’ experience thus far has been similar to my original learning experience: ‘go through the textbook, copy from the board, do the worksheets…’ zzzz

    I was hoping to find out about workshops, conferences, short courses, books, websites etc etc that would assist with becoming a good TEACHER of mathematics. (which to my mind is not necessarily the same thing as a good mathematician!) So far all I have been pointed at are full-time, on-campus classes from other universities which are not possible for me to undertake – even without considering the exorbitant cost of studying single subjects at a uni. Any suggestions?

  2. I don’t really know the answer, but have you heard of the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers”? Here is a link.

    Perhaps you could contact them to ask for opportunities? Atleast they list some recommended reading and so forth.

    Best of luck with your career.

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