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Obama administration education advisor shares insights


23 June 2014

The twentieth anniversary of the education industry's Successful Learning Conference opened with a keynote address by key Obama administration education advisor, Dr David Chard, today.

The address, titled Helping Struggling Learners with Mathematical Reasoning, discerned what teachers need to know in order to effectively teach the discipline, so that students successfully develop the universally understood skill of mathematical reasoning.

"It is critical that teacher understand that we know a great deal about how students learn mathematics. Our challenge is teaching in a way that optimizes what we know about learning rather than creating obstacles to learning," said Dr Chard, prior to his address.

"This means, for example, we have to recognize that young learners know much more about mathematics than we have typically given them credit."

Dr Chard, Dean of the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, was appointed by US President Barack Obama to serve a three-year term on the Board of Directors of the National Board of Education, where he was elected chair of the board in January 2014.

"Educating our youth is one of the most critical needs of our society globally. Today, in our competitive world, it is essential that we invest in understanding the methodologies that work best in ensuring that children can read, do mathematics, and learn," he said.

"David has an expansive knowledge base and expertise around the design and implementation of quality education programs," said conference convener Associate Professor David Evans. "At this conference he will address the implementation of quality mathematics programs that accommodate a diverse range of student need."

Other distinguished speakers include keynote Emeritus Professor Kenneth Howell from the Department of Special Education at Western Washington University. The opening address will be given by University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence.

The Successful Learning Conference focuses on issues and developments in the provision of quality education for students K-12 with additional learning needs in a mainstream classroom setting. Areas addressed will include literacy, numeracy, accountability and assessment, behaviour support, technology and social skills instruction.

"The conference has attempted over the years to foster and promote evidence-based practices for teachers to use tomorrow in their schools," said Associate Professor Evans.

"As such, it has attempted to be applied in the way that is engaged with teachers. We have achieved this through bringing in new thoughts (our keynote speakers), drawing on nationally acclaimed educators, and showcasing the work that teachers are doing in classrooms from around New South Wales."

Event details:

What:Successful Learning Conference 2014 - Great Expectations: Standards and Adjustments

Where: The Epping Club, Rawson St, Epping.

When: Monday 23rd and Tuesday 24th June




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Media enquiries: Luke O'Neill, (02) 9114 1961, 0481 012 600, luke.oneill@sydney.edu.au