National recognition for an inspiring teacher trainer


Outstanding work in mathematics education earned Jenny Field, principal lecturer in Department of Primary Education, a Higher Education National Teaching Fellowship in 2016.

Jenny is one of just 55 lecturers and learning support staff across the country to be recognised in 2016, having been chosen from hundreds of nominations. The National Fellowship is the UK's most prestigious award for excellence in higher education teaching.

A University of Greenwich alumna, Jenny explains: "My passion for mathematics came about at a relatively late stage in my education, while I was training to be a primary school teacher at the University of Greenwich. The inspiring teaching methods I gained under my lecturer Professor Mike Askew set me on the path to change attitudes towards maths, not only of student teachers, but also experienced teachers and, ultimately, the children we teach."

Her approach to teaching maths is to find creative ways to engage students, whether it is using poetry to explain the Fibonacci Sequence or dance to teach algebra. The idea is that by actively involving them in the learning process, they are more likely to remember what they're being taught. This applies to learners of all ages.

"Being part of a primary education department with a strong sense of collegiality, one where we inspire and support each other, has allowed me not only to develop my ideas and research for the bene t of student teachers, but also for local authorities and schools. I successfully bid for MAST, a national government-funded programme aimed at experienced teachers and designed to create leading maths specialist teachers in schools."

Over its five-year period, Jenny trained about 80 teachers across five local authorities. When the MAST programme ended, she stayed in contact with the teachers she trained, many

"I see the National Teaching Fellowship as
a platform to continue my work both at the university and in schools. We can learn a lot from approaches to maths teaching in other countries, elements of which can be applied here in the UK. In Shanghai and Singapore, for instance, teachers spend longer on a topic and go deeper. This means that the children will have a conceptual understanding of what they're learning. By empowering children in this way you are giving them confidence and igniting a passion for maths.

"After all, we are all mathematicians: from the moment our alarm goes off, we are in the mathematical world of 'what's the time?'. All we need to do as teachers is to give students the confidence to recognise their innate mathematical ability."