This blog post is written by Nasreen Majid (Lecturer in Primary Mathematics).
Renata and I met in August 2017. Renata works in a local independent school and is a mathematics specialist. Her passion for developing her practice prompted her to set up links with the Institute of Education, University of Reading. Renata contacted me via e mail and I was very keen to listen and develop the project on ‘Using reflective journals in mathematics in Key Stage 2 to develop deeper thinking in mathematical processes’. This has been the beginning of a wonderful collaboration and friendship.
Since our first meeting two years ago, we have worked together to launch and analyse our first set of results from the use of mathematical journals and our work has been published in ‘Primary Mathematics’, the Mathematical Association’s journal for primary teachers.
We have also presented our work at an event, called Practitioner Research in Mathematics Education (PRiME), which was organised by the British Education Research Association’s Mathematics Education Special Interest Group. This opportunity afforded us to widen the scope of our work.
Both Renata and I have planned how we will be taking the project forward and are now developing the next phase of our work. This will be using the journals but in addition to this, we will be fostering a culture of peer coaching in a Year 5 mathematics classroom. We would be interested to see how coaching facilitates mathematical thinking between peers, in addition to the use of mathematical journals. We intend to have some initial findings from this phase of our project to share in the autumn term.
The research has helped both Renata and I to develop our professional identities further through our collaboration and helped us to further reflect upon and evaluate the nature of research and practice and the intrinsic value of such partnerships. Therefore, in addition to continuing to write our work on the use of reflective journals, we are now working on a joint paper on the value of research collaboration and the professional benefits this brings to both the researcher and practitioner.