From March 1-7, 2023, Assoc. PaedDr. Janka Medová, PhD. and Mgr. Silvia Haringová from the Department of Mathematics of the Faculty of Mathematics of the Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra took part in an unusual activity. They spent a stimulating week at the Department of Mathematics of the National and Kapodastrian University of Athens in Greece. They participated in the activities of prof. Despina Potari and Dr. Nikolaos Metaxas, especially the sessions of professional development for mathematics teachers using the lesson study method. In lesson study, four steps are cyclically repeated: (1) studying, (2) planning the lesson, (3) implementing and observing the planned lesson, and (4) reflecting on the implementation. During the week in Athens, the participants engaged in all the steps of one cycle with a group of mathematics teachers who have been working together for about three months.
The planned activities had to be modified due to the unrest caused by the tragic train collision that occurred just before their arrival.
On Thursday morning, they attended a working meeting of the team that implements professional development for mathematics teachers using the lesson study method, which Silvia is focusing on in her dissertation. Afterwards, they prepared a MathCityMap trail in the Department’s facilities. Later, they attended a tutorial for first year mathematics teacher education students on set theory. In the afternoon they participated in lesson planning as part of a lesson study.
Friday and Saturday’s schedule was modified because the students completely blocked the entrance to the university as part of the protests. The seminar for PhD students was therefore held online from the living room of prof. Desipina Potari. Janka and Silvia presented to the participants the activities they are carrying out in Nitra within national and international projects and their adaptation of the lesson study model. The model was adapted by them to the national specificities of Slovakia and to work with the MatCityMap system and mathematical trails. Due to the weather and the unavailability of working spaces at the university, further consultations for Silvia’s dissertation took place outdoors.
Monday was spent by both job-shadowing participants at the Joint Experimental School in Piraeus, assisted and interpreted by colleagues and students of the Athens Department of Mathematics. They observed students proving selected properties of triangles during the lessons scheduled for Thursday’s meeting.
On Tuesday, they participated in an on-line teachers’ reflection on the lesson implemented. The teachers had many thought-provoking insights. Both participants actively participated in the discussion.
The described job-shadowing was created by a combination of work in several projects. Within the KEGA project Cooperation as a means of professional development of mathematics teachers Silvia and Janka are carrying out a lesson study not only about mathematical trails and within the international project ICSE Academy there was an opportunity to consult their work with a leading world expert. The cooperation is not over, colleagues from Athens are planning to participate in online meetings with Slovak teachers.
Author Janka Medová
Photographer Silvia Haringová