Círculo educators go to the USA
Six educators of O Círculo da Matemática do Brasil participated in the Math Circle Summer Teacher Training Institute, held between June 27th and July 1st at the University of Notre Dame, in the United States. They were the winners in 2015 and 2016 of the Instituto TIM – O Círculo da Matemática do Brasil Award, which honors the educators who most stood out with a trip to the United States to participate in the workshop. The training is organized by professors Bob and Ellen Kaplan, creators of The Math Circle approach, and by teacher Amanda Serenevy, of the University of Notre Dame.
For five days, Janaína Rodrigues de Almeida, Manoel Vale de Araújo Junior, Samanta Stein Silva, Alexandre Trilles Junior, Priscilla Perez and Vinicius Henrique Sbaiz participated in discussions about the approach, followed The Math Circle classes with students of different age groups and led activities for children from 5 to 8 years old that participate in The Math Circle in the city of South Bend, Indiana. Janaína, member of the São Paulo (SP) team, highlighted the activities with the children as one of the workshop differentials, as they were able to receive a feedback of the professors Kaplan and, at the same time, know new activities suggestions while accompanying other groups classes. “It was an opportunity to show the work that we do in Brazil”, she says.
The educators shared their experiences in The Math Circle with teachers of the United States (including an educator of the Navajo tribe), Canada, England, Switzerland and India. Priscilla, who received the award for her performance in Belém (PA) and currently teaches in Rio de Janeiro (RJ), explains that most of the participant schools of The Math Circle in these countries are private and that the teachers were very interested in the work developed in Brazil. “They told that we are doing a small revolution and that it is very important that The Math Circle classes are being financed for public schools in Brazil“, she tells. “It was very different, because they attend children who already like mathematics and want to develop the mathematical thinking. We don’t. It was a shock, in this sense,” adds Janaína.
Another differential of O Círculo da Matemática do Brasil that caught the attention of the workshop participants were the training sessions for public school teachers, as a way to multiply the approach. “We didn’t imagine they would be so excited. We learned a lot, but we also received many compliments. We returned renewed”, states Priscilla. Janaína adds that they could realize that the difficulty with mathematics is similar everywhere. “We saw a clearer approach of the reason why is necessary to study mathematics and make children think about going further and further away, structuring their reasoning. And this is possible. If we can do it here and they can do it there, it’s because it works”, she highlights.