A. Thompson: Reshaping Mathematics Education for Business&Economics Students

View all tags

The webinar, led by Adam Thompson, a teaching fellow in economics at Aston University, focused on reshaping mathematics education for undergraduate economic students post-pandemic, using practical techniques.

Privacy and cookies
By watching, you agree Pearson can share your viewership data for marketing and analytics for one year, revocable by deleting your cookies.

Adam Thompson webinar, Reshaping Mathematics Education for Business&Economics Students

The webinar, led by Adam Thompson, a teaching fellow in economics at Aston University, focused on reshaping mathematics education for undergraduate economic students post-pandemic.  

The session started with a few words by the author of Mathematics for Economics and Business, Ian Jacques. 

Adam highlighted the challenges of teaching mathematics and catering to students with varying levels of mathematical abilities. Drawing from his 13 years of experience in higher education, Adam aimed to initiate a conversation about addressing these challenges and making mathematics more approachable for students. He acknowledged the historical stigma associated with mathematics and shared personal struggles, emphasising the need to create a positive learning environment.  

Following this, Adam engaged participants in an interactive poll to identify the main challenges students face when learning mathematics. Attendees contributed responses such as fear, attitudes, motivation, confidence, understanding, impatience, anxiety, and commitment. Adam acknowledged these issues as significant barriers to effective mathematical learning and expressed interest in exploring them further.  

Adam then delved into several challenges associated with teaching mathematics, notably focusing on maths anxiety, the culture of memorisation, perception of relevance, and engagement issues. He discussed the pervasive nature of maths anxiety, recounting a student's avoidance of a test due to fear of failure and highlighting societal beliefs about innate mathematical abilities. Adam also touched on the impact of memorisation-centric teaching methods, the struggle to convey the relevance of mathematics to students, and the evolving landscape of student engagement influenced by digital distractions. He highlighted the need for educators to address these challenges and adapt teaching strategies to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of mathematics among students. 

Adam also explored the evolving landscape of student engagement and mental health post-pandemic, drawing on personal experiences and statistics. He noted a significant increase in mental health issues among students, evidenced by a decline in attendance and engagement with enrichment activities. Adam highlighted a prevailing sense of isolation and loneliness among students, exacerbated by the pandemic, which has led to a more socially disconnected student population. Moreover, he discussed the growing trend of students seeking flexible attendance options to accommodate part-time work, suggesting a multifaceted approach is needed to address the complex challenges facing students today. 

Adam looked into a mathematical proficiency framework by Kilpatrick, emphasising its relevance in understanding effective learning in mathematics education. The framework comprises five strands: conceptual understanding, procedural fluency, strategic competence, adaptive reasoning, and productive disposition. Adam highlighted the significance of productive disposition, particularly in fostering motivation and engagement, which he views as essential precursors to successful learning. He then connected identified issues such as anxiety, loneliness, social disconnectedness, and engagement to the concept of psychological safety, setting the stage for further exploration of strategies to address these challenges. 

Adam explored the concept of psychological safety within the classroom, highlighting its importance in fostering an environment where students feel comfortable expressing ideas, asking questions, and making mistakes without fear of judgement. He identified a decline in student participation over time, attributing it to anxieties about being ridiculed or judged. Adam connected psychological safety to issues of anxiety, loneliness, and social disconnectedness, proposing strategies to enhance it, such as peer-assisted learning sessions led by second-year students. These sessions aimed to provide a supportive and non-judgmental environment for students seeking additional help, ultimately contributing to a more inclusive and conducive learning atmosphere. 

Furthermore, Adam discussed the strategy of module alignments as a means to enhance students' understanding and engagement in mathematics. By structuring his modules to run alongside an economics module, Adam was able to illustrate the practical relevance of mathematical concepts, fostering a deeper connection between the subjects. Additionally, he emphasised the importance of creating relatable examples to captivate students' interest, such as framing mathematical problems around everyday scenarios like movie night snacks. By incorporating props and interactive problem-solving sessions, Adam aimed to make complex topics more accessible and memorable for students, ultimately improving their buy-in and retention of mathematical concepts. 

Finally, he discussed the implementation of continuous assessment as a means to enhance student engagement and participation in mathematics. Acknowledging the potential controversy of this approach, Adam balanced it by attaching a relatively small weight to the assessments and allowing room for mistakes. By utilising continuous assessment through quizzes and tests on the MyLab software, Adam aimed to encourage student involvement and understanding of mathematical concepts.  

Additionally, he highlighted the importance of fostering psychological safety through strategies such as the Powell scheme and module alignment, as well as providing relatable examples like the popcorn and chocolate scenario to make mathematics more relevant to students' everyday experiences. Adam concluded by emphasising the need to shift students' perceptions of mathematical ability from a fixed trait to a skill that can be developed through effort and practice. 

During the Q&A session, the participants discussed the impact of AI on mathematics teaching, with Adam highlighting the need to find the best ways to integrate AI into current practices and mentioning its usefulness in resource generation but uncertainty about its role in the learning journey. They also addressed practical examples shared by Kristina Aldošina, who demonstrated hands-on activities, highlighting their effectiveness in engaging students.  


Ian Jacques's "Mathematics for Economics and Business" is now available in eTextbook and print. Access your complimentary sample copies from our online store.




Filter by tag