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The ALM bulletin is a bimonthly newsletter from Adults Learning Mathematics (ALM).

ALM is an international research forum bringing together researchers and practitioners in adult mathematics/numeracy teaching and learning in order to promote the learning of mathematics by adults.

ALM Bulletin: January 2024

Wishing a happy and healthy 2024 to all ALM members, supporters and friends.

This is the time of year when traditionally we look forward to the year ahead and make resolutions about what we intend to achieve during the coming months. It is however also a good time to reflect on what we have already achieved.

In the 30+ years since its inception, Adults Learning Mathematics has grown as an international community and become well-established as a place for researchers and practitioners from varied backgrounds to share their interests. Members have been involved in many national and international research projects about adults learning mathematics or numeracy in different contexts. Our annual conferences and virtual seminars have provided regular opportunitieis for the ALM community to meet together and the ALM International Journal has become well established as a place where researchers and practitioners can publish high quality articles about adult learning of numeracy or mathematics.

This year we look forward to continuing our regular activities but also developing new ideas and expanding our international connections. A new hybrid format for our ALM 31 Conference in July, should make it easily accessible to members and supporters in different parts of the world. We also anticipate at least one new issue of the ALM International Journal in 2024 and are continuing the 2023/24 virtual seminar series with the next seminar being held very soon, on January 15th.

I am extremely grateful for all the work done by the ALM trustees in organising these events, editing the journal, writing the bulletin, and networking with partner organizations, but the work is not restricted to trustees. If anyone is interested in getting involved and supporting the trustees with ALM activities, they are very welcome to get in touch with the ALM secretary at secretary@alm-online.net.

Diane Dalby
Chair of ALM trustees

Next virtual seminar is on the January 15th 2024

Our next virtual seminar is coming up very soon so please do check out the date and make sure you register in advance. The seminar will provide an opportunity to hear from our ALM Chair about some of her research and discuss the issues that arise around engaging students with mathematics.

Title: Engaging with maths: facing up to the challenges for organisations and students.
Speaker: Diane Dalby (UK)

Register here: ALM 2023/24 Virtual Seminar Series – ALM (alm-online.net)

Abstract: A lack of engagement with maths is a common issue faced by teachers in schools, vocational colleges and other educational settings. Although the learning contexts may differ, there are recurring themes in students’ experiences of society and education that influence their response to maths. In this seminar a multi-level approach will be taken to explore the issues and discuss approaches used by individual teachers and whole organisations to engage and motivate young adults. Recent research in England on the development of a Whole College Approach (WCA) will be examined that focuses strongly on ways of improving student engagement with maths through changes in both management strategies and classroom practice.

During the seminar there will be an opportunity to consider perspectives from practitioners and researchers before spending time in small groups discussing how the approaches might be applied in different settings.

About Diane Dalby: Diane is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Research in Mathematics Education, University of Nottingham. She previously worked in Further Education colleges in England for over 20 years, in various management and teaching roles, before commencing a full-time doctorate at the university and later progressing to her current role. Her doctoral study focused on the experiences of vocational students learning functional mathematics in Further Education colleges and Diane has since worked on several national and international mathematics research projects. Her research interests include the teaching of mathematics in post-16 education for disaffected and low-attaining students, the post-16 mathematics curriculum, the enactment of policy in Further Education and the positioning of mathematics within vocational education. Diane has also been active for many years as an educational consultant, trainer and external examiner, taking a special interest in mathematics teaching and FE management.

Register here: ALM 2023/24 Virtual Seminar Series – ALM (alm-online.net)

You can also watch previous seminars at any time on our YouTube channel.

ALM31 conference July 1st and 2nd 2024

Relationships with Mathematics in Adult Education Learning

You may have already noticed the first announcement of ALM31 on the ALM website, which is summarized below. Further information will appear on the website once confirmed but we would be interested in hearing from anyone who might be interested in supporting the trustees with the organisation of one of the regional clusters listed below. You can find out more about what would be involved by emailing the ALM secretary at secretary@alm-online.net.

ALM 31 will be held in a new hybrid format which will make it accessible online to members in different time zones. There will be four regional clusters, each in a different zone (provisionally US,
UK, Europe, Australia). These clusters will all follow the same basic conference programme but at a time to suit their time zone. Delegates will be able to choose to attend the cluster that is held at the most convenient time for them. Some clusters will include the option of meeting face-to-face (in conjunction with online participants) whilst other clusters will be entirely online.

The conference theme of Relationships with Mathematics in Adult Learning will incorporate a range of different ways in which adults relate to numeracy and mathematics in learning situations and other life experiences, including the workplace.

Details about how to submit a presentation will be available on our website from late January 2024, see https://alm-online.net/alm31/.

ALM International Journal

The journal is an open-access peer-reviewed journal that provides a forum for the online publication of high-quality research on the teaching and learning, knowledge and uses of numeracy/mathematics by adults in a variety of educational settings internationally. We are currently working on a special ALM30 conference edition. Please note that those who have promised papers need to submit these to the editors on or before February 1st 2024 at editor-ij@alm-online.net with the subject line ALM30 Special Issue.

The latest issue (November 2023) of four articles, with an editorial by Lynda Ginsburg and Javier Diez-Palomar is available here: Microsoft Word - almij-Volume 17_final (alm-online.net)

A new article is also available as “Online First” here: Wilder, E.I. & West, R.K. (2023) The mathematical identities of college faculty participating in a quantitative reasoning development program: stories of trauma and triumph. In this article, Esther Wilder and Rebecca West from the City University of New York show by autobiographies how both mastery goals and performance goals can serve as incentives for learning mathematics. They demonstrate the importance of viewing mathematics achievement through a positional lens conditioned by both structural variables and agency variables (e.g., growth mindset).

All issues of the journal from June 2005 onwards are available at ALM International Journal – ALM (alm-online.net)

ALM Membership

ALM members should have already received notification from the ALM Membership Secretary about the small increase in fees for 2024. Membership fees are due in January each year (unless joining in December of the previous year) so please could all members remember to adjust payment accordingly. We would be very grateful if all fees could be paid by the end of January.

If any members have difficulty making this adjustment or are unsure about their membership status, or have any other queries, they are very welcome to contact the Membership Secretary at membership@alm-online.net.

If you are not yet a member, please do consider supporting the work of ALM by becoming a member. You can find more information about how to do this at https://alm-online.net/become-a-member/.

Future bulletins

We hope that you are enjoying the regular ALM bulletin. If you have news from your part of the world that may be of interest to our international community, then please do get in touch with Linda Jarlskog at linda.jarlskog@lund.se or Lena Lindeskov at lenali@edu.au.dk send her a short draft item for the next bulletin by March 1st 2024.

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