*An invitation to take a major step in professional development, get
creatively involved with an important subject, meet interesting people,
and gain insight as well as self-confidence.*

- In 1989 the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) issued
a set of ``standards'' for K-12 mathematics --- based on the premise
that students will develop mathematical competence only by being ``actively
and frequently'' engaged in exploring, conjecturing,
reasoning, and problem solving.
- In 1994, British Columbia revamped its K-12 curriculum, with mathematics more or less following the NCTM guidelines. On page 2, its 1995 mathematics IRP says: ``Problem solving is the cornerstone ...'' and, on the next page: ``... mathematics is not simply memorizing rules.''

The reason these new impulses have not met instant implementation is the
almost universal conviction -- based on years of schooling -- that
mathematics *really is*
just a system of rules, formulas, and algorithms invented long ago and
now (thank Heaven!) superceded by technology.

The backbone of the programme is made up of two new 3-credit courses to be offered evenings during the school year, usually 150 minutes once a week, and in the daytime during the six-week summer term. They will concentrate on questions often encountered but rarely answered in traditional school practice. Wherever possible lecturing will be replaced by discussion and cooperative work in small groups -- with the aim of cultivating mathematics as a method of inquiry rather than a body of facts or procedures to be memorized.

The first course, *Mathematics by Inquiry* (Math 336), will be
problem-based and exploratory, with formal language and notation kept
to a minimum. Its aim is fresh insight, hands-on experience, and the
opening of mathematical "black boxes". It will be followed by
*Mathematics for Teaching* (Math 337) -- an overview and "unpacking"
of the relevant curriculum (mainly Grades 8 to 10) with the ultimate
aim of putting its ingredients into perspective.

These courses will be collaboratively taught by instructors from the
Department of Mathematics (Faculty of Science) and the Department of
Curriculum Studies (Faculty of Education). Although the subject matter
is mathematics *per se*, a pedagogical orientation will be maintained
throughout.

Since it is designed exclusively for in-service professional development, the programme has no screening function. Every effort will be made not to erect obstacles but to build bridges. Accordingly, evaluation in these courses will not be based on formal exams but on problem sets and mathematical portfolios with selected assignments and writings. On the other hand, credit can be given only to those who meet course conditions and requirements, for example, regular attendance and completion of assignments.

The certificate itself will be awarded upon satisfactory completion of a major relevant project within an appropriate time after having passed the courses; in exceptional cases it can be conferred "with distinction". Apart from its own intrinsic value it will also count as academic credit toward certain post-baccalaureate programmes in the Faculty of Education.

The number of participants in every section of these courses will be
limited. The first time through, only one section of MATH 336
will be given in the winter semester (January through April) 1999, a second
one in the summer term (July to mid-August), and one section of MATH 337
in the fall semester (September through December) of the same year.
To make this Programme available to people in different geographical
areas, *venues for the courses might change from year to year.*

Currently (1998/99) the tuition fee for a 3-credit course at UBC is $229.50, hence for the whole Certificate Programme it would amount to $459.00.

Without asking you in any way to commit yourself at this point, we would appreciate your questions and comments -- as well as some indication of interest, if any. In the latter case: would you be thinking of winter 1999, summer 1999, or some later time?

Please drop us a line: by e-mail to bluman@math.ubc.ca, by fax to George Bluman at (604) 822-6074, or by letter to Dr. George Bluman, Head, UBC Department of Mathematics, Vancouver, B.C., V6T 1Z2. We shall also keep you posted via the internet at at this location with updates as they occur.