Testimonials and feedback

We have been fortunate to work with a vast number of schools and individual teachers
over the years as we have developed our resources and professional development services.
The extremely positive feedback we have received has been most encouraging.

Here is a small sample of what teachers and administrators (including MASA and MAWA Presidents)
have said about what we do…

Teacher Testimonials for Back-to-Front Maths

Algester:
I have been gradually incorporating Back 2 Front Maths into my teaching practices over the past three years. After attending workshops and PD with Tierney Kennedy, I was inspired to venture further and this year have changed the teaching of mathematics to learn alongside my students as we investigate concepts together. I have witnessed a distinct improvement in my students willingness to be creative with maths and in the communicating and reflecting their ideas. The thinking journals and blast books are an integral part of my teaching……… Teacher

The Blast books have made me feel far more confident when introducing new mathematical concepts to my class. The ‘Backwards Questions’ are a wonderful challenge for the students. Your books have become an integral part of my Maths lessons, and they have assisted me in catering to the diverse range of abilities within my class……..Teacher

Our school used the Back 2 Front maths resource this year for the first time. Never before have I seen teachers feeling so confident that they are delivering the best possible program to their students. Many teachers with years of experience have mentioned how they feel that for the first time they are teaching maths properly to their students with the assistance of the Back 2 Front Maths resource……. Deputy

Burnside:
“The way the concepts and ideas have been broken down into smaller, logical steps seems to help my students who are in the lower maths group.  We seem to be having more frequent “ah ha moments.”

“They now look at what is in front of them with a more enquiring mind and utilise the mathematic content that they already possess, instead of waiting for the teacher to ‘teach them’ how to do it.”

“For an old dinosaur who really needs to be put out to pasture, it has changed the way I teach maths and given me and the children a renewed interest and approach to maths.”

North Lakes:
Back to front maths is the best tool I have had to move my staff from an outcomes based syllabus and reporting system into the Essential Learnings and assessable elements.  As a consequence my staff are understanding the elements a lot better and are able to make informed, consistent, professional judgements about student achievement and their pedagogy has improved significantly.  I would thoroughly recommend Back to front maths, particularly as we move towards a national curriculum.

Calamvale:
Our teachers and students have moved forward in leaps and bounds since participating in Tierney’s workshop “Teaching teachers to teach students to think”. This was an interactive workshop whereby teachers viewed a lesson taught by Tierney. They then, taught a lesson  themselves with Tierney in the support role. Wonderful experience to help teachers and students move forward in terms of constructive teaching. The lessons where based around Back to Front Math text. Thank you Tierney!!

Gympie
I loved how the students worked together in pairs putting their heads together, scribbling down ideas in their journals of how they attacked the problem and so forth…. In my observations of these students I can see problem solvers developing….Wonderful to see, instead of the usual looks on their faces of total disconnection of the maths they are doing on say black line masters to real world learning.

Facilitator Training

Macgregor:
Thankyou for your inservice last week.  Firstly it is wonderful to see someone so passionate and obviously so talented at what they do.  I found the two days extremely helpful and seeing your lesson at the beginning provided me with a clear example of Back to Front Maths.  I felt that the ‘hands on’ approach you used over the two days what was needed to ensure a clearer understanding for those of us new to Back to Front Maths.   Having a class to ‘experiment’ on was an extremely valuable experience.  You also provided an eye opener into the National Curriculum and standards. I look forward to implementing this into my classroom and start the sharing process with my peers.  Well once again thank you.

Wondai:
I am experiencing success in my year 8 maths class: students are engaged, they are providing justification for their answers, and they are demonstrating a deep understanding of the concepts. I am ecstatic!

Numeracy coaches:

Having never seen this in action before I was blown away by this session.  It showed how an approach can be realistically used, something the theory doesn’t enable.    Numeracy Coach

It was awesome to witness Tierney in action within a real context.  These types of experiences are rare.     Numeracy Coach

Awesome!  We need more Professional Development which demonstrates HOW teachers can implement effective teaching, identify and shift misconceptions and make sustainable improvement to student outcomes.  Brilliant!     Numeracy Coach

PD Training

Thanks for the training the other day – it really helped and I could see the difference in my maths teaching the next day, too.  Gold Coast

Thank you so much, the session was fantastic and opened my eyes to so many different ways to look at and teach maths.  Brisbane

Thank you so much for the very informative session this afternoon.  You are inspirational.  Sunshine Coast

 

Professional Associations Testimonials

Mathematical Association of Western Australia
President Richard Korbosky

As educators we are all looking for pedagogical resources that reflect the direction in the Australian Curriculum. (MAWA) believe that problem solving is very important mathematical process, so we saw Back‐to‐Front Maths as a natural fit to what we as group want to achieve in mathematics.

The focus in Back‐to‐Front Maths is to see what students actually understand, (which) is far different to telling the students what strategy to use. These resources allow students to  understand, to think, see mathematics from an unfamiliar situation and justify their thinking.

The best feature of Back‐to‐Front Maths is the clear questioning processes that are used to find out about misconceptions as part of the natural teaching lesson. The fact that Back to Front Maths has book and website resources to support teachers in implementing this approach is an important feature.  Teachers will give it a go if they have clear guides to support them.

The facilitator’s course held in Western Australia on 9 ‐10 June at East Maddington Primary School and supported by MAWA was a great success because teachers were given the chance to focus on the Mathematics Proficiency Strands from the Australian Curriculum. Participants from both primary and secondary schools were given the opportunity to observe an actual lesson in action and analyse exactly what students understood, what misconceptions they exhibited and what questions needed to be asked for students to expose what they thought. This process was an eye opener for the participants because the technique used by Tierney was clearly different from what takes places in many classrooms.

At the end of the facilitators training teachers were asked participants to give feedback on resources. They gave such positive feedback, we could see that others teachers within our mathematics community would also see the merits of the problem solving approach.

Our hopes for the future are to introduce teachers to a strategy that improves students understanding of mathematics which is reflected in their improved results in such things as NAPLAN.

I would like to see schools adopt the problem-based pedagogy underpinning Back‐to‐Front Maths to support those students in our system that are at the greatest risk.

 

Mathematical Association of South Australia
President Carol Moule and Professional Officer Dr. Pauline Carter

Regarding expert knowledge
Tierney is the author of the Kennedy Press, Back to Front Maths books for the years Foundation to 7. These publications are the only texts that the Mathematical Association of South Australia (MASA) has ever recommended for consideration by teachers. Tierney is prolific, insightful and fluid in her writing in preparing invaluable support to classroom teachers. Her texts are written in such a way that teachers are able to program, plan, present and assess the Australian Curriculum. They provide teachers with explicit advice on differentiation while supporting conceptual development through problem-based learning.

In her workshops, Tierney has inspired and transformed even the most experienced teachers. She is committed to addressing misconceptions in student understanding and empowering students so that they have more control over their learning. This ensures that mathematics classrooms are able to become more dynamic, active and productive. The Back to Front Maths website is another resource for teachers that provides extensive teaching materials, information and professional reading at no cost. Tierney’s professional development for teachers has had significant impact on South Australian teachers and their classrooms.

Regarding collaborative work with organisations
Tierney has developed a strong alliance with MASA and has formed positive working and personal relationships with our executive, committee and members in the short period of 7 months since she first came to the state to present at our annual conference. As a Queensland educator she has adapted her materials to be relevant to SA schools and curriculum. Tierney has studied the Australian Curriculum very closely and has developed two important resources for schools entitled the Australian Curriculum Preparation packs 1 and 2. These packs address teacher programming and curriculum audits as well as assessment and moderation ideas.

In particular, her understanding and application of the Proficiencies as well as content, ensure a balanced and lasting learning experience for students. This is evident in both her pedagogy and materials. She is cooperative, personable, energetic and flexible in her working relationships. Tierney has connected with many SA teachers through her workshops and continues to communicate with them via her invaluable website, emails and by phone. Her confident and polished delivery of professional development combined with her knowledge of classrooms and teachers’ work inspires teachers to review and adapt their practice.

Regarding the capacity to deliver to high quality, on time and within budget services and/or digital resources
Tierney’s resources encapsulate in text, her pedagogy that reflects her strong belief in problem-based teaching, student centred, activity-based learning for individuals.  She is able to incorporate simple and convenient strategies for assessing and recording student achievement into her tasks and materials.  Her passion and energy ensure the timely production of appropriate materials in response to need but this does not compromise the quality of her products.  MASA has agreed to be the SA distributor of the Kennedy Press publications and the widespread purchase, level of enthusiasm, and positive feedback for these texts has been very affirming.

MASA is confident that Tierney Kennedy of Kennedy Press has demonstrated all the criteria required as a knowledgeable expert developer and presenter of high quality teaching resources for years Foundation to 7 Mathematics. She has clearly demonstrated the capacity to work collaboratively with other groups and will easily be able to transfer these skills to working with other stakeholders.

Regional Curriculum Consultant, Barossa Region, South Australia

Tierney,
You have an excellent understanding of maths, the content and also the doing of maths and most importantly how to integrate the two aspects which have been divided by the curriculum but should not be separate in practice.  Your ability to break down and explain the steps necessary for problem- based teaching and learning was most appreciated by our teachers.  They understood the process and could see themselves having a go at problem-based teaching because they saw the steps involved and were given a starting point.  You also valued what they were doing already which was very important for them to know what practices they should continue with and were therefore more open to looking at where they needed to make changes.

I think many of them knew they needed to change their pedagogy but were needing to be shown how to change and what that might look like.  Your modelling the lesson with students was extremely powerful.  They were totally engaged in pulling apart how you taught the lesson, the questioning strategies you used, the way you differentiated the content and how you dealt with the misconceptions.  The way you uncovered the misconceptions was particularly helpful for our teachers.  Your explanation of how we could assess students’ learning was well received.  You combined your knowledge of the requirements of the AC with a practical and doable method of assessment.  They can now see a way to move forward and teach the AC with some confidence.

Teachers appreciated the way you responded to their needs on the day, listing their questions then working through them, making sure you didn’t leave questions unanswered.  I think that is the first time I have seen this aspect of training done so well. You engaged many with your genuine stories of classroom situations, you were one of them (teachers) right from the start and never put yourself on a different status.  Just one example of your high level of professionalism.

There is so much excitement amongst our teachers right now, even in the last few weeks of the year! Those who attended your workshops went back to schools and told everyone about your methods and program. They are talking whole school approach which is fantastic. Within 24 hours of sending out an email for expressions of interest in a workshop next year, I had 120 teachers and leaders booked in. Principals are more than happy to plan pupil free days around your workshops. That says a lot to me!

After our leaders’ workshop, the feedback showed how they held you in high esteem, they acknowledged your genuine passion for teaching maths, your sound knowledge of maths and how well you explained connections to AC.  The way you were positive about other programs and acknowledged the work done here already added to your credibility.

Our planning together for the 3 days was seamless and exciting as we exchanged ideas about what you could offer and how you could meet our needs.  I really appreciated you listening to and understanding our issues and incorporating solutions into your workshops. It was helpful having emails returned so quickly. Your generosity with your time and resources is outstanding and is appreciated by all here in the Barossa.  Thank you most sincerely and I do look forward to continuing our association as we plan for further maths training for our teachers.

Yours truly,

Mary-Anne Rischmueller
Regional Curriculum consultant, Barossa
8.12.2011



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