The study was carried out in 2023 by British Council, with coordination from University of Bristol’s expert professor Alf Coles and aimed to understand more about Romanian Primary Mathematics teaching, in order to make recommendations for the professional development needs of teachers.

 

 

775 primary school teachers were surveyed, and 41 teachers across 10 different counties participated in interviews and lesson observations in classroom. Their students and headteachers were involved in the research as well.

 

 

The research aimed to:

 

  • Provide insight on the needs of teachers and learners of mathematics in primary schools in Romania;
  • Assess the current levels, teaching practices and needs of teachers and learners in grades 0 to 4;
  • Explore the main areas for development of mathematics teaching;
  • Make recommendations regarding the design of future interventions.

 

 

In what regards training needs, 44% of teachers responded they had more than 35 hours of training, while 34% of teachers received either none or less than 6 hours of professional development. However, over 90% of teachers responded that they wanted training in how to support children’s problem-solving skills (91%) and how to address individual needs (93%). Around 75% wanted training in: mathematics-related content; the didactics of mathematics; how to assess mathematical knowledge. 

 

The conclusions of lesson observations show needs of development in the following main categories:

 

  • Teacher professional development: “Developing student agency, e.g., in the context of problem solving; developing uses of assessment and ways to support individuals; enhancing subject knowledge; supporting teachers in effective use of text-books and homework. However, given the ubiquity of the practice of students explaining ideas at board, we consider it a matter of priority to support the effective use of this strategy, through research and training.”
  • Initial teacher education: “We suggest exploring the viability of a professional development course for teacher educators. We propose this offer could be based around the priorities identified in this study, and with a focus on how teacher educators could support teachers in those areas.”
  • Curriculum: “The case for curriculum reform could be explored further. Experimental research into alternative approaches to developing the number concept in Romanian schools could provide important evidence for potential curriculum reform.”