Greetings from ”Sammen om oppdraget”!
In the middle of November around 140 Norwegian professionals interested about mathematical learning difficulties gathered together in Gardermoen for a two-day seminar organized by Matematikksenteret.
We, me (Riikka) together with a PhD student Anita Lopez-Pedersen from ISP, were invited to give a session about the latest research conducted around the theme. Thus, we had an opportunity to tell about our on-going projects. Anita focused on presenting her intervention study on first graders performing low in mathematics, who were provided with ThinkMath intervention (see more about her project here, and about the intervention materials here). I had a chance to tell about the iSeeNumbers project; what it is, what we aim for, and what will we be done in the coming four years.
Currently, there is unfortunately quite little research conducted around math development and math learning difficulties in Norway. The impression got from the network seminar was that there is a hunger for research-based knowledge – how children’s math skills develop, what are the signs if there are developmental delays, how to assess numeracy skills, and how to provide good, appropriate and effective educational support for those students who perform low in mathematics. One of the ’hot’ topics raised and discussed in the seminar was how to actually define mathematical learning difficulties. Which concepts and terms to use? Which definition should we follow regarding the diagnostics of mathematical learning difficulties (e.g., the new ICD-11 or DSM-5)? How can we make sure that all students who show weakness in their mathematics learning receive educational support, even though they would not have a diagnosis? Would Response to Intervention (RTI) model provide a framework also in the Norwegian school system for the ways assessment and support are provided for the students who struggle in their learning? Many questions were left in the air to be further discussed.
It was a pleasure to join the network seminar – not only to hear great presentations from the professionals in the educational field (PPT, Statped, Dyslexia Norge etc.) from different viewpoints, but also to have discussions around the topic, which was of interest for all the participants.