Math Conference by the Numbers

For one week in November, dozens of teachers from all over Guatemala showed just how dedicated they are to providing the best education to their students. With the school year ending for a two-month break, they would certainly have been pardoned for taking some well-deserved time off. Instead, they gathered on the Antigua campus of our partner, Common Hope, to soak up four days of professional development and leadership training in mathematics education. The following numbers will give you an idea of how enriching those days were for everyone involved.

The first number to give you is 2014. That’s the year in which the partnership between Common Hope and Teachers2Teachers Global began. After bringing a group of teachers to the New Hope community near Guatemala City for a week during the summer, we organized a follow-up conference. Three math educators from North Carolina, New York and New Mexico flew in to offer a day and a half of workshops to 20 teachers.

Now in its fourth year, the conference’s expansion can be measured in different ways. Attendance has grown to 147 local teachers, representing a 635 percent increase. The number of workshops has swelled from six to 36, presented by seven US-based and 15 Guatemalan educators.

The 2017 conference theme was Making Math Experiential: Developing Math Knowledge through Experience. Presentations aimed to expose teachers to strategies for seeking, finding, and applying real-life mathematical experiences in their classrooms. Topics ranged from fractions to calendar math to group tasks, all designed to strengthen the learning process for students.

Scenes from November’s math conference in Antigua

Digging further into the numbers, a ratio we’re excited about is the proportion of workshops offered by local Guatemalan teachers. In the conference’s first two years, we were unable to recruit any teachers who felt equipped to contribute a presentation. Given that empowerment is one of T2TGlobal’s core values, we were determined to coach the talented teachers we’d met to step into leadership roles. 

Over the past year, T2TGlobal staff members Katie Korsyn and Lucia Davila have led monthly professional development sessions for 16 math teachers in the area. This group is known as the Math Leadership Team (MLT). In pairs and threesomes, they planned and delivered conference presentations for their colleagues that were described as “engaging and exciting” by at least one participant.

Almost one-third of this year’s workshops were delivered by MLT graduates and other Guatemalan educators, a thrilling increase in a short time. The cultural significance of claiming expertise in such a public way cannot be overstated. At the end of one of the Guatemalan presenters’ workshops, the attendees spontaneously burst into song to express their appreciation!

The feedback from presenters and participants alike has been so positive that we cannot wait to see what next year will bring. The last number you need is 11.2018, which equals November of next year in Antigua…perhaps you’d like to join us?

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