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This paper outlines an innovative Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme established in the Republic of Ireland for out-of-field mathematics teachers in second-level education. Research on out-of-field mathematics teachers in Ireland conducted in 2009 (Ní Ríordáin & Hannigan) motivated the development of a unique two year, part time Professional Diploma in Mathematics for Teaching (PDMT). The PDMT was first offered in 2012 jointly by the University of Limerick (UL) and the National University of Ireland, Galway and currently has 550 graduates. The main research question that this project aimed to address was: Are teachers enrolled in the PDMT satisfied with the programme and what strengths and weaknesses of the programme have teachers identified? An online survey was developed by the PDMT at the National Centre for STEM Education (EPI∙STEM), together with the Centre for Teaching and Learning in UL, to assess participating teachers’ evaluation of the programme. Initial findings regarding teachers’ opinions of this unique programme indicate an increasing satisfaction with the PDMT over time (52.5% of survey participants) after some preliminary technical difficulties. While the programme requires a significant time and work commitment which can be stressful for participants, the general consensus is that the programme is a positive means of achieving professional development and advancement as a mathematics teacher.
Faulkner, F., Lane, C. & Smith, A. (2016) A CPD Programme for Out-of-Field Mathematics Teachers: programme outline and preliminary evaluations by participants. Science and Mathematics Education Conference, Dublin City University, 16th-17th June 2016.