Marist College Canberra, ACT
Ngunnawal and Ngambri
Early Career Teacher
One key school subject that many students can feel intrepid about is Maths. Through his natural curiosity, Matthew Millikin, a mathematics teacher at Marist College Canberra, has created a pioneering intervention program that helps students embrace maths in new ways and is positively impacting his students’ approach to the subject as well as their results.
Students usually arrive at high school with varying levels of maths ability. At Year 7 and 8 level, Matthew recognised many students had gaps in their learning that would prevent them from understanding more challenging concepts. To address this, he helped create an after-school intervention program designed to address skill gaps.
The program was designed with the idea that students were neither ‘good’ nor ‘bad’ at maths, rather their performance was based on how much exposure they’d had to certain concepts. It also focused on student mindset and perception of ability. Matthew’s empathetic approach achieved great results and the program has been extended and increased in scale. From 20 students, it has expanded to 60 students of all abilities and two additional maths teachers have been recruited to assist. He is also working on addressing student mindset to studying maths in older year groups.
Matthew’s first degree was Science and his first job in sports sponsorship, but a gap year after school included working in a primary school overseas and it wasn’t long before he decided to return to university to become a teacher. He would like to see the status of the profession raised, by educating the community on the complexity and value of the vocation.