The Adults Learning Mathematics – 31st Annual Conference

Dates: 1st and 2nd of July 2024

Please note that the deadline for session proposals has been extended to Friday May 10th 2024.

We are delighted to announce that 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 hosted in a different zone (USA, Ireland/UK, Europe, Australia). These clusters will all follow the same basic conference programme but at a time to suit their zone. Delegates will be able to choose to attend the cluster that is held at the most convenient time for them. Please see the Programme section for details of the meeting times for each cluster.

Two clusters (Ireland/UK and Europe) will include the option of meeting face-to-face (in conjunction with online participants) whilst other clusters will be entirely online. P

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.

Click on the items below for more information:

Conference theme

Conference theme: 

The conference theme of Relationships with Mathematics in Adult Learning will include aspects such as:

  • adults’ responses to the changing demands for numeracy or mathematics in their personal and working lives;
  • adults’ emotional or motivational responses to learning mathematics or numeracy;
  • relationships concerning policy and practice for adult mathematics or adult numeracy.
Keynote speakers and Keynote theme

Keynote speakers and Keynote theme

We are delighted to welcome the following keynote speakers for ALM 31.

Dave Tout

Making adult numeracy count – connecting mathematics and context

Dave has worked extensively across Australia and internationally in adult and youth literacy, numeracy and mathematics education, with a focus on professional development, curriculum, teaching materials and assessment. He is particularly interested in, and passionate about, making mathematics relevant, interesting and fun for all students. Dave has wide experience, working across schools, Technical and Further Education institutes, community education providers, universities, national educational bodies and with workplaces and industry. Over the years, Dave has contributed to many Australian state and national curriculum and assessment frameworks, including the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF), and the numeracy and mathematics domains of both adult education and Year 11 and 12 school qualifications and certificates. Dave has been involved in the development and writing of the numeracy and maths frameworks and assessments in the OECD’s Programme in Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) and the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), and is currently Chair of the Numeracy Expert Group for PIAAC. Dave is a Numeracy and Mathematics educator and facilitator and holds positions at the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) and the Faculty of Education at the University of Melbourne, and is a numeracy and mathematics education consultant.


Real-world contexts are critical for engaging all learners and providing the purpose for learning about how to use and apply maths in the real world, and that has been the foundations of teaching adult numeracy. Starting with the real-world context in teaching numeracy provides a range of benefits in enhancing learner’s successful understanding of numeracy and maths knowledge and skills, no matter their age, and can help overcome learner’s attitudes about relating to and learning about the world of mathematics. This presentation will look at why and how this works in practice, and why it also makes sense within the world of the teaching and learning of mathematics, and how it connects to the relationships between numeracy, mathematics and adult learning.

Brooke Istas

Hidden Teachers: The Stories of Adult Basic Education Math & Numeracy Teachers in the United States

Brooke Istas, Ph.D., is a practitioner/researcher recognized in United States mathematics education, specializing in adult learning. Her research delves into pivotal moments when adult learners transition from positive to negative perceptions of math, aiming to alleviate anxiety and enhance learning experiences. Recognized nationally, she presents at various conferences on mathematical instruction, higher-level concepts, and distance learning. Brooke emphasizes collaboration, believing it enriches adult education. She shares her expertise and fosters community engagement as the Literacy Information and Communication System (LINCS) Math and Numeracy Community of Practice moderator for the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE). With a commitment to qualitative research methods, Brooke seeks to understand learners’ mathematical journeys, identifying barriers and facilitating positive learning outcomes. Her work signifies a dedication to breaking down obstacles in mathematical education, ensuring all learners have access to fulfilling mathematical experiences.


Personal experiences, cultural influences, social interactions, personal beliefs and mindset, and educational environments shape a person’s math identity. Our math identity can shape attitudes and beliefs about one’s mathematical abilities. In the United States, Adult Basic Education (ABE) instructors teach math classes to adult learners looking to learn basic numeracy skills or obtain a secondary education credential. These instructors teach with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, which may or may not be in the field of education, but rarely is it math. There has been limited research done on this hidden area of education. This research study used life history methodology to conduct a narrative identity analysis among thirty-eight Adult Basic mathematics and numeracy teachers, exploring their mathematical journeys and instructional practices. Through in-depth interviews, participants shared perceptions, beliefs, and knowledge, yielding four overarching themes on mathematical self-identity and instructional approaches.
Additionally, four themes emerged regarding mathematics instruction. These narratives are contextualized within psychological, anthropological, sociological, and educational frameworks, highlighting the intricate interplay between personal experiences and professional practices in adult mathematics education. This research informs teacher training and curriculum development efforts in adult numeracy education by elucidating the factors shaping ABE math instructors’ identities and instructional methods.

Eabhnat Ní Fhloinn

Dr. Eabhnat Ní Fhloinn is an Associate Professor in the School of Mathematical Sciences and the Director of DCU Maths Learning Centre. She has undertaken this role since 2007; prior to this, she was Manager of DIT Maths Learning Centre for two years. Her PhD is in biometric cryptography from Trinity College Dublin, where she also undertook her BA in Mathematics. Her research interests now lie in the area of mathematics education, with particular focus on the transition from post-primary mathematics to higher education; mathematics support in higher education; mathematics diagnostic testing of incoming university students; mathematics for engineers; and assessment in mathematics.

(Further information available soon)

Call for Proposals

Call for Proposals

The ALM31 programme committee would welcome proposals for presentations about research or practice related to the conference theme Relationships with Mathematics in Adult Learning. This might include areas such as those below but other aspects are also acceptable:

  • adults’ responses to the changing demands for numeracy or mathematics in their personal and working lives;
  • adults’ emotional or motivational responses to learning of mathematics or numeracy;
  • relationships concerning policy and practice for adult mathematics or numeracy.

Due to the hybrid format of the conference, we are requesting short presentations (rather than extended workshops), although we would encourage presenters to include interaction that is accessible for an online audience, where possible.

Presentations will be made to one of the four regional clusters but will be recorded (with permission) and made available to all clusters.

To submit a proposal, please download and complete the ALM 31 submission form at and email this to

You will need to supply the following details on the form: title of presentation; abstract (250-300 words); names and affiliations of authors; contact details of corresponding author. We are also requesting an indication of which cluster you will be attending and whether you are planning to attend in person (Ireland/UK and Europe only) or online. Please note that you will be able to change the cluster or mode of attendance later but an early indication is helpful for planning purposes.

Deadline for proposals: May 3rd 2024

Please note that the deadline has now been extended to Friday May 10th 2024.

Program overview


The conference programme will include:

  • pre-recorded presentations from keynote speakers
  • discussions about key topics and questions in regional clusters
  • presentations from delegates.

There are also plans for an ongoing online shared discussion space, short live links between clusters in compatible zones and a hybrid combination of in-person and online for some clusters (Ireland/UK and Europe).

The provisional conference times for the four regional clusters are:

Australia and New Zealand

Day 1: 10.00-16.45 and Day 2: 10.00-13.45 (Sydney)


Days 1 and 2: 09.00-15.45 (Central European Time, UTC+2)


Days 1 and 2: 09.00-15.45 (Ireland, UTC+1)

North, South and Central America

Day 1: 12.00-16.00; Day 2: 12.00-15.45 (Eastern Time Zone)


Registration and payment module

All delegates will need to register in advance to attend the conference and pay a small conference fee (£15 per person) to ensure access to the conference online. When registering, delegates will be asked to state which cluster they will be attending. Those who choose to attend in person (Dublin or Lund) will need to pay the same fee for online conference access (£15) but will also be expected to pay for their own travel, accommodation and meals during the conference.

Financial support to attend conference

All delegates will be able to attend their chosen regional cluster online but for the following clusters there is the option of meeting in person. The face-to-face venues will be:

Ireland – Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland.

Europe – Lund, Sweden. Glimmervägen 12.

Programme and Organising Committee

Programme Committee

The Programme Committee is formed by the following ALM trustees: Charlotte Arkenback; Catherine Byrne; Diane Dalby; Linda Ginsburg; Lisanne Heilmann.

Regional cluster organisers

North, South and Central America:

Lynda Ginsburg, Marcus Jorgensen and Judy Larsen


Linda Jarlskog and Lena Lindenskov

Ireland and UK:

Catherine Byrne and Diane Dalby

Australia and New Zealand:

Keiko Yasukawa, Jac Field, Sarah Howe


Europe – Lund, Sweden. Glimmervägen 12 is located next to Scandic Star hotel in the eastern outskirts of Lund. However, it may be nicer to stay a little more centrally to enjoy what the city has to offer like the magnificent cathedral.

Social programme




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