The YuMi Deadly Centre’s vision is Growing community through education. This is illustrated by our leaf motif, developed by Blacklines to depict learning, empowerment, and growth within country/community. The three key elements are the individual (represented by the inner seed), the community (represented by the leaf), and the journey/pathway of learning (represented by the curved line which winds around and up through the leaf). Thus, the motif represents a journey from a small beginning (seed) to walking through a wide land, as an act of growth.
The YuMi Deadly Centre is dedicated to enhancing the learning of all students to improve their opportunities for further education, training and employment, and to equip them for lifelong learning.
Specifically, YDC’s aims are to:
- facilitate whole school change that builds pride and positive identity, emphasises high expectations, and strengthens relationships with community
- train and support school staff to teach effectively
- develop innovative resources and processes to strengthen teaching and learning
- develop decolonising research methodologies to empower the researched
- support research capacity, particularly at Higher Degree Research (HDR) level.
YuMi Deadly Centre staff members work in projects with schools to improve their capacity to teach mathematics. We are active in the schools and committed to improving mathematics learning. We write materials on teaching and learning mathematics and provide these materials to teachers at professional learning or training days. Our focus is practical and on providing ideas for teaching particular topics, yet with a theoretical basis, and covers all mathematics strands in the Australian Curriculum.
We collaborate with schools and their staff on action research projects to develop effective and innovative curriculum materials and theoretical frameworks to explain why they work. We travel to visit schools and classrooms, and offer online support and training modules for participating schools. We also offer free resources on our website to all schools. We never give up on schools that continue to participate in our projects.
- All people deserve the deepest mathematics teaching and learning that empowers them to understand their world mathematically and to solve problems in their reality.
- All people can excel in mathematics if it is taught actively, contextually, with respect and high expectations and in a culturally safe manner.
- All teachers can effectively teach mathematics if supported with knowledge, resources and a positive environment.
- All communities can benefit from the mathematics teaching and learning practices above if school and community are connected.
Researchers now in the YuMi Deadly Centre have been working with schools, TAFEs and community groups across Queensland and in northern New South Wales through collaborative research projects since the mid 1980s. The interest in working with schools began in the 1980s where we wrote a series of how-to-teach mathematics books for our teacher-education students and as a basis of professional learning days with existing teachers. We set up a small Centre for Research and Learning in Mathematics which was based around a clinic where we interviewed school students on their mathematics knowledge and ran courses for teachers on diagnostic assessment and planning remediation.
In the 1990s, we set up the Centre for Mathematics and Science Education which was a successful university centre for many years. In mathematics, we conducted action-research projects with schools and systems on building capacity to teach mathematics, focusing on structural thinking and social constructivism, metacognition and problem solving, and use of virtual materials. We also started offering higher degrees at Masters and Doctoral level.
In the 2000s, we started working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander schools and communities and this began to overshadow our work in other schools. We started calling our mathematics program Deadly Maths and we set ourselves up as the Indigenous Capacity Building Research Group when the Centre for Mathematics and Science Education was combined with other Education centres in a Faculty Centre for Learning Innovation.
We also set up a management infrastructure that later became the basis of the YuMi Deadly Centre. We expanded our research focus to include vocational education and training (VET) and TAFEs and Indigenous teacher aides, and we began our first Torres Strait Island projects. We adopted the decolonising methodology of empowering outcomes where research must benefit the researched. We began to apply for larger long-term grants and were given permission from the Torres Strait Islanders’ Regional Education Council to add the name ‘YuMi’ to ‘Deadly’.
In 2009, we were able to set up a Faculty research centre, which we named the YuMi Deadly Centre, as a result of receiving funding for three large long-term research projects (TIME, AIM and ARC Linkage VET Skilling Indigenous Australia). We developed the research-based YuMi Deadly Maths approach to building capacity of schools to teach and learn mathematics, expanded our staff, widened our focus to include non-Indigenous low-SES students and schools, and set up an Advisory Committee (2010–15). We prepared materials and training courses to cover all mathematics strands in the Australian Curriculum, and began collaborating directly with schools in research projects to deliver and refine these comprehensive courses. We set up several schools as Centres for Excellence in YuMi Deadly Maths and developed online training modules in YuMi Deadly Maths.