Education officials are putting a renewed focus on math education in Cayman’s schools.

Addressing Cayman’s entire public school teaching body at the annual education conference at Clifton Hunter, Friday, Education Minister Tara Rivers said improving numeracy skills was the next major priority for the school system.

Recapping new measures put in place over the last two school years, she said programs had been introduced to improve literacy levels and student behavior.

She said the conference, which featured international math coaches working with Cayman’s teachers on new methods, would place the focus on numeracy. “We have built the building blocks of literacy, we’ve focused on inclusion and this conference will have a focus on rounding out those critical skills of numeracy.”

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Part-sponsored by the Cayman Islands Institute of Professional Accountants, Friday’s conference featured training sessions for the island’s teachers with local and international experts.

Author and educator Kara Imm, co-director of New York based Math in the City, and Sue Gifford, a U.K.-based math professor and writer on early years maths education, led training sessions for teachers.

Ms. Imm also held a sessions for parents on Thursday evening and both women will be in schools Monday and Tuesday delivering sample lessons and working with teachers.

The strategy puts the focus on linking math to real situations. Kiva Powell, who organized Friday’s training conference, said the focus was on coaching teachers in a practical way.

“It is not just ‘sit and get.’ We are trying to embed practice that can actually change the way teachers deliver lessons.”

She said working with parents was also important in helping them help their children and ensuring students were not getting contradictory advice at home.

The Cayman Islands will also host an international math teaching conference next year, Ms. Rivers announced in her address to teachers.

The Realistic Mathematics Education conference, organized by the Freudenthal Institute, is a three-day event featuring educators from around the world. Christen Suckoo, chief officer in the Ministry of Education, said “Some of the best minds in the world in math are going to come to Cayman and speak about what is happening with maths teaching around the world, and the best ways to improve.”

Mr. Suckoo said Friday’s conference was part of an ongoing education for teachers.

Peter Small, a partner at PwC and a former John Gray High School student, delivered the keynote address at the conference Friday, highlighting how his teachers had influenced him to get to where he is today.

After the morning’s speeches, teachers rotated through a roster of different workshops on the Clifton Hunter campus.

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