Modern maths teaching method adds up to success

Master maths teacher Vikesh Gami teaching maths to high school students at John XXII Catholic College in Sydney
Master maths teacher Vikesh Gami teaching maths to high school students at John XXII Catholic College in Sydney


Master maths teacher Vikesh Gami has turned homework on its head to get good results in his classroom.

The Catholic high school teacher, who has a degree in mathematics and physics, has harnessed artificial intelligence to prepare students for their lessons.

Instead of learning new concepts in class, students spend 15 to 20 minutes at home watching instructional videos, taking handwritten notes, and completing a quiz, using the program Atomi.

By the time they turn up for their maths lesson at school, Mr Gami knows which students have understood the concept taught the night before.

Those who struggled to understand are taken aside for a quick catch-up tutorial, and Mr Gami then spends time teaching students to put their newfound knowledge into problem-solving.

“We’ve flipped our learning,’’ he said. “Traditionally, teachers would check understanding via homework, and then stand for 20 or 30 minutes showing examples. But by doing the lessons (at home) before class, the teacher has got 60 minutes of time to make growth.

Mr Gami, who teaches at St John XXIII Catholic College at Stanhope Gardens in Sydney’s west, is one of the rare maths teachers in Australia with a university degree in maths and physics. The Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute has warned that most Australian high school students are being taught by unqualified maths teachers.

Three quarters of students will be taught by an out-of-field teacher – often an English, humanities or physical education teacher – at least once throughout high school.


Mr Gami trained as a teacher in Britain, but in Australia most teachers complete a four-year education degree without specialising in a maths or science subject.

The National Catholic Education Commission is drawing on the skills of 40 maths teachers, including Mr Gami, to write 240 lessons for students in years 7 and 8 that can be used by all Catholic school teachers.

NCEC executive director Jacinta Collins said one in three maths teachers are not trained to teach the subject.

“We know that increasingly teachers are required to teach out of their subject field, so high-quality curriculum resources and professional learning in mathematics will greatly assist teachers in their lesson planning, and responding to the needs of their students,’’ she said.

Mr Gami said he would not want to work in any other profession, despite his qualifications that would springboard him into a more lucrative career in science, robotics or computing.

“I can’t imagine myself doing any other job,’’ he said.

“I get a lot of joy seeing students progress and learn new skills.’’