IMA International Conference on Barriers and Enablers to Learning Maths: Enhancing Learning and Teaching for All Learners

Date:  10 – 12 June 2015
Location:  University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland


This is the first international conference of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) about approaches to teaching and learning mathematics. Mathematics should be understood in the widest possible sense to cover all aspects of mathematics, including number, pure mathematics, applied mathematics, statistics and the full range of applications of mathematics.

The conference examines learning and teaching throughout the life span, from the most basic to the most advanced topics and for the full range of learners, including people with dyscalculia and other maths learning difficulties, gifted learners and mathematicians. This should lead to cross-fertilisation between different areas of learning and teaching. The conference is also highly interdisciplinary. In addition to mathematicians, it should be of interest amongst others to psychologists, teachers, pedagogical and educational experts, engineers, scientists and social scientists.

Invited speakers

Bill Barton (University of Auckland)
Dame Celia Hoyles DBE (The Institute of Education, University of London)
Colin Jones (University of Tasmania)
Ros Sutherland (University of Bristol)
Claire Trott (Loughborough University)

The conference is organised into the following four tracks, with the list of topics under each track illustrative rather than exclusive.

Motivation and maths anxiety

  • Approaches to increasing motivation and self confidence
  • Overcoming maths anxiety
  • Why learn maths: relevance, context and applications
  • The use of social networking to provide mutual support and increase engagement
  • Using the media to promote mathematics and improve its image
  • The learner’s and the teacher’s perspective

Inclusive practice and learners’ particular requirements

  • Learners with specific learning difficulties
  • Ethnic, cultural and linguistic diversity and the learning and teaching requirements
  • Gender issues and gender sensitive learning and teaching
  • Mature learners and returning to maths in later life
  • Blind learners and non-visual representation of mathematics
  • Gifted learners
  • Maths learning for specialists and non-specialists

Effective practice: what does and does not work

  • International comparisons
  • Case studies
  • Content and curricula
  • Assessment, teaching and learning approaches
  • Training and resources for teachers
  • Less traditional approaches, such as project based learning, peer supported learning, microlearning and mobile learning

The use of technology

  • The use of ICT, new technologies and tools
  • On-line learning, blended learning and traditional classrooms
  • Mobile learning apps
  • High tech and traditional approaches

Confirmed Thematic Sessions

  • Enhancing student engagement with mathematics & statistics
  • Addressing mathematics & statistics anxiety

Conference Fees

IMA Member £300
Non-IMA Member £395
IMA Student £205
Non-IMA Student £215

Conference Dinner on night of 11 June: £45

To register for this event, please download, complete and return the application form.

Please see Accommodation and Travel advice for further details.

Organising Committee

Chair –  Dr Marion Hersh (University of Glasgow); Co-Chair – Dr Meena Kotecha (LSE); Professor Nigel Steele (Coventry University); Dr Shirley Evans (University of Worcester); Professor Diana Kornbrot (University of Hertfordshire).

Programme Committee

Professor John Blake (University of Birmingham); Noel-Ann Bradshaw (University of Greenwich) Prof. Dr. Daniel Burgos (Universidad Internacional de La Rioja (UNIR), Spain); Dr Emma Cliffe (University of Bath); Professor Annemie Desoete (University of Ghent, Belgium); Dr Olivia Fitzmaurice (University of Limerick, Republic of Ireland); Dr Donal Fitzpatrick (Dublin City University) Giorgi Goguadze (Leuphana University of Lüneburg); Professor Jeremy Levesley (University of Leicester); Dr Les Mustoe (Loughborough University); Dr Peter Rowlett (Nottingham Trent University); Dr Judith Shapiro (London School of Economics); Dr Jeff Waldock (Sheffield Hallam University); Professor Anne Watson (University of Oxford)


List of papers in order of presentation

Session 1 Effective Practice

Supporting Freshmen through Diagnostic e-Assessments and e-Learning Packages
K.F. Hung, S.C. Choy, K.H. Chung and C.K. Chan

A tale of two very different Mathematics Support Centres at two very different universities
J. Nicholas, L. Rylands, C. Coady, L. Armstrong, H. Dhindsa, S. McGlynn, J. Nicholls, J. Pettigrew, D. Shearman

Why ‘what works’ doesn’t work in practice, and what might work better
A. Watson

Effective Differentiation; where a growth mindset meets the ZPD
Y. Reilly, J. Parsons

Maths Diagnostic Testing – Beyond Diagnostics
C. Patel

Session 3 Inclusive Practice

Language as a Barrier to Learning Mathematics
M. Prendergast; F. Faulkner; C. O’Hara

Creating and evaluating an online glossary of curriculum terms for maths for deaf learners who use British Sign Language
K. O’Neill, A. Cameron, G. Quinn, R. O’Neill

Maths for Blind People:  Not reinventing the wheel … crooked
M. Hersh

Speech Interfaces for Mathematics : Opportunities and Limitations for Visually Impaired Learners (pdf)
D. Attanayake, J. Denholm-Price, G. Hunter, E. Pfluegel, A. Wigmore

Session 4 Special Session: Addressing mathematics & statistics anxiety

Addressing mathematics & statistics anxiety by enhancing self-belief
M.  Kotecha

Addressing mathematics & statistics anxiety by individual support
S. Strawbridge

Combating maths anxiety by using history
M. Walker

Session 5 Pedagogies and Methods

Developing an Innovative Curriculum and Teacher Pedagogy for Nurturing a Positive Disposition towards Learning and Using Mathematics in Post 16 Students in England – ‘Critical Maths’ (pdf)
T. Dawson, S. Lee

Teaching and Assessing with New Methodological Tools (Merlo):  A New Pedagogy? (pdf)
F. Arzarello, R. S. Kenett, O. Robutti, U. Shafrir, T. Prodromou, P. Carante

Enabling Access to A Level Further Mathematics Across England via Blended Learning – ‘Lil Fm’
R. Butler, T. Button, S. Lee

Crossing the Threshold: epistemological obstacles and pedagogic circumventions
J. Mason

Assessment of Complex, Non-Structured Mathematical Problems (pdf)
B. Divjak

Session 7 Training and Teachers

Scenario Based Training of Statistics Support Tutors
A. Owen, E. Marshall, S. Smith

Session 8 Special Session:  Student Engagement

The use of video and screen casts to engage and support the learner and promote mathematical thinking (pdf)
N. A. Bradshaw

Enabling pupils; enabling teachers: how a national intervention programme changed maths teaching and learning in an Irish primary context

Session 9 Special Session: Enhancing engagement – maths & stats

Teaching maths for economics
A. L. Ariza Jimenez

Social Media v Blackboard Discussion Forums in Teaching and Learning Mathematics
V. Perisic

Syncretic approach to teaching and learning mathematics
L. Fradkin

Online Practice in Mathematics and Statistics. A model for community collaboration
B. Foster

Session 10 STEM

Using social media to promote deep learning and increase student engagement in the College of Science & Engineering (pdf)
S. Ahmed, S. Honeychurch

Using e-Assessment to promote engagement in Engineering Mathematics
K. Henderson, R. Gwynllyw, A. Hooper and A. Palipana

CalculEng for Virtual Mathsaid : The Development and Evaluation of a Set of On-Line Tutorial Resources for Elementary Calculus (pdf)
M. Davis, J. Dhanbhoora, G. Hunter & W. Wiesyk

Experiences of using Audio Feedback in Engineering Mathematics Modules (pdf)
K. Durkacz and E. Mowat


Scientific enquiries should be sent to:
Marion Hersh:
Meena Kotecha:

For further information or to register your interest, please contact Lizzi Lake, Conference Officer, E-mail:, Tel: +44 (0) 1702 354 020, Fax: +44 (0) 1702 354 111, Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, Catherine Richards House, 16 Nelson Street, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS1 1EF, UK.


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