Improving mathematical learning

with Jo Boaler and Cathy Williams

Improving Mathematical Learning

Department of Education's focus on numeracy improvement

The Victorian Department of Education’s ‘Numeracy improvement guide for school leaders‘ has been released to help school leaders effect change in numeracy and mathematics outcomes.  Change is needed to ensure that every Victorian student leaves school strongly numerate and with the mathematics knowledge, skills, capabilities, and dispositions they need to support their chosen pathways and to make complex decisions in a mathematics-rich world.

youcubed‘s goal is to inspire, educate and empower teachers of mathematics, making research on maths learning accessible and practical. Their approach focuses on student growth mindset and innovative teaching. We know from research how to teach mathematics well and how to bring about high levels of student engagement and achievement, but this evidence has not previously been made accessible to teachers. All students can learn mathematics to high levels and teaching that is based upon this principle dramatically increases students’ maths achievement. The need to make research widely available is particularly pressing now as new science on the brain and learning is giving important insights into mathematics learning. By providing research-based teaching methods, mathematics tasks, videos, and ideas youcube aim to significantly reduce maths failure and inequality, inspiring teachers and empowering all students to success.

A key youcubed focus is on big ideas. These big ideas raise individual standards to a higher level so that students can learn mathematics as a meaningful subject of connected ideas. This approach has been shown by research to engage students and increase achievement and is the best approach for teaching heterogeneous groups of students. When teaching to big ideas and connections, there seems to be less content to teach and more time for students to explore ideas and learn deeply. The same content is actually taught and learned, but the organisation of connections and big ideas allows for a more coherent approach in which students learn different, connected ideas together. 


Professional development days


Recent years have seen an explosion of scientific evidence showing that there is a different way to learn, lead and live, available to us all. We will look at what this different approach is, thinking about the ways we can teach students to increase equity, engagement, and achievement while considering the nature of the content we are teaching. 

We will share ways to generate classrooms of engaged and excited mathematics learners across the year levels.  Teachers will learn strategies, supports and tools to help students develop positive mathematics identities and feel a sense of belonging in STEM. During these PD sessions, we will learn about the latest research (from neuroscience and education) and experience mathematics in the ways recommended by research. We will learn about the approach of the new proposed California Mathematics Framework which involves  multidimensional teaching by providing access to students through low floor high ceiling tasks, teaching to big ideas and connections.


The day will be led by Jo Boaler and Cathy Williams from Stanford University with the aim of supporting teachers with tools, strategies, and opportunities for collaborative team planning in order to incorporate ideas into classroom learning spaces to foster positive math identities and growth mindsets in students.  


Please note both professional development days have the same agenda and content, please book your preferred date. Times on Friday are later to allow for travel into Ballarat. The Goods Shed is located adjacent to the Ballarat Train Station. 
Lunch and refreshments provided.
Numbers are limited.



Thursday 3 August - Ballarat

The Goods Shed, 200 Lydiard St Nth, Soldiers Hill 3350

08:30-09:00   Registration
09:00-09:15   Welcome, introductions, overview
09:15-11:00   Session one
11:00-11:30   Refreshment break

11:30-13:00   Session two
13:00-13:45   Lunch

13:45-15:45   Session three, including Q&A

Friday 4 August - Ballarat

The Goods Shed, 200 Lydiard St Nth, Soldiers Hill 3350

09:00-09:30   Registration
09:30-09:45   Welcome, introductions, overview
09:45-11:30   Session one
11:30-12:00   Refreshment break

12:00-13:30   Session two
13:30-14:15   Lunch

14:15-16:15   Session three, including Q&A 


Jo Boaler


Dr Jo Boaler is the Nomellini & Olivier Professor of Education at Stanford University. Former roles have included being the Marie Curie Professor of Mathematics Education in England, and a maths teacher in London comprehensive schools. Her PhD won the national award for educational research in the UK. She is an elected fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (Great Britain), and a former president of the International Organization for Women and Mathematics Education (IOWME). She is the recipient of a National Science Foundation ‘Early Career Award’, the NCSM Kay Gilliland Equity Award (2014) and the CMC Walter Denham Mathematics Leadership award (2015). She is the author of eighteen books and numerous research articles. She is a White House presenter on women and girls. She co-founded to give teachers, parents and students the resources and ideas they need to inspire and excite students about mathematics. Her work has been published in the New York Times, TIME magazine, The Telegraph, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal and many other news outlets. She is currently co-leading a K-12 Data Science Initiative and was named as one of the 8 educators “changing the face of education” by the BBC.

Cathy Williams



Cathy Williams is the Co-Founder and the Executive Director of youcubed. Previously Cathy served as the Director of K-12 Mathematics in the Vista Unified School District where her professional development series earned a California State Golden Bell Award. The professional development in Vista Unified included a unique technology infused K-12 mathematics program that provided workshops for parents, teachers and administrators. Cathy’s former roles have included a high school mathematics teacher, AVID coordinator, and mathematics department chair and district curriculum leader over an 18-year span before she became a curriculum and instruction administrator in 2003. Cathy served for seven years as the San Diego County Office of Education K-12 Mathematics Coordinator where her key projects included developing the book and professional development program, Math Language that Works and the online math teacher support program Getting Ready for Algebra.

Her professional development series, Algebraic Reasoning Through Inquiry (ARTI) supported many district teachers in San Diego County. During her County Office time Cathy served as the lead coordinator for the first generation California State Early Assessment Program (EAP) professional development series.


$250 per person

Ballarat – The Goods Shed

Lunch and refreshments will be provided – please let us know of any dietary requirements at the time of booking

Quest Ballarat Station is pleased to offer a special 12% discount for youcubed PD participants 31 July to 6 August inclusive:

  • Bookings should be made directly via:
  • Half way down the page, click on “Have a promo or Corporate code”?, use Promo Code EARTHED23, Submit then select dates, rooms and guests
  • 12% Discount off the Best Flexible Rate of the day will apply to Studio and Studio Executive Apartment types
  • Bookings will be subject to availability and, at times, minimum night stays.
Quest Ballarat Station is located next to The Goods Shed and the Ballarat Train Station. 
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