2006 BH Neumann Awards

The 2006 BH Neumann Awardees were Brendan Case, Teo Mui Hong and Rod Watson. They were presented with their awards at separate ceremonies. Their citations follow.

Brendan Case

Mr Brendan Case, an experienced South Australian mathematics teacher, received a BH Neumann Award from Trust Executive Director Peter Taylor and Trust Board member Will Morony at a function at the Lenzerheide Restaurant, Hawthorn, on Friday 02 June 2006.

[Brendan Case bhn]

Brendan Case, Peter Taylor, and Will Morony.

[Brendan Case bhn]

Helen and Brendan Case with twin daughters Nicole (left) and Joanna (right).

CITATION

Brendan was born at Quorn, in the north of South Australia, in 1947, and spent the first 14 years of his life in the northern part of the State before his family moved to Adelaide in 1961. His schooling started in a one-teacher school and his secondary schooling was at Rostrevor College in the eastern suburbs of Adelaide. He enjoyed mathematics, in various forms, through his schooling and went on to attend Adelaide University and Adelaide Teachers College from 1965-1968. His first appointment in 1969 was Peterborough High School, a small country high school in the mid north of the state, where he worked with a young and enthusiastic staff. It was during this year that he met Keith Hamann, who was a Mathematics consultant. Brendan became a close associate of Keith over many years, being inspired by Keith through many professional development opportunities to develop a number of his own activities. When Keith became Superintendent of Mathematics in South Australia Brendan was at mathematics senior at Nailsworth and Morialta High schools, and during the time at Morialta Keith would regularly teach Applied Mathematics at Morialta as an extra above and beyond his duties. Some years later when Keith decided to return to teaching, he was appointed to Morialta as co-Mathematics senior and the two of them worked very effectively together. One of the most significant influences on Brendan’s teaching came about in the mid 1980s with the Mathematics Curriculum Teaching Project (MCTP) initiative and Will Morony was the SA coordinator of the program. Brendan and Will became involved together with the trialling of the project at Morialta. Brendan was impressed with the program, which added relevance and interest to the study and teaching of Mathematics. Brendan was inspired and excited by the pool of resources was exciting and used the ideas to develop other resources and activities. The Mathematics consultants based at Wattle Park were also a source of great help to Brendan. One of these was Vern Treilibs, who worked hard to develop teaching activities and to provide valuable in-service for Mathematics teachers. In 1985 Vern was a catalyst in setting up study opportunities for teachers in operations research techniques. Brendan was one of a number of teachers who were able to take a term away from school to refresh his skills at the University of SA at the Levels campus. As well as attending lectures Brendan was able to develop project ideas for use in the class. In the mid-1980s Brendan became South Australia’s moderator for the Australian Mathematics Competition for the Westpac Awards. He has maintained this position up to the present and has had several stints on the problems committee. In 1981, Brendan and his young family embarked on an exciting year on exchange to Canada, spending 12 months teaching at Forest Heights Collegiate, a large comprehensive high school in Kitchener, approximately one hour’s drive from Toronto. The school was close to the University of Waterloo which was a strong supporter of school Mathematics and the Mathematics faculty supported the local Mathematics Association with professional development opportunities. During the 1980s he was on the subject advisory committee for Mathematics at the Senior Secondary Assessment Board of SA. This was at a time when the SA was establishing the Senior Certificate of Education and when year 11 and 12 Mathematics courses were being reconstructed. He also spent a few years on the committee of the Mathematics Association of SA during the mid-80’s. In 1988 he took leave from the SA Education Department after 19 years of service and joined the Catholic sector. He was appointed Head of Mathematics at Cabra College in 1989 and held this position until 2003, when he decided to teach part-time and continue to enjoy the challenges of teaching Mathematics in the twilight of his career. Peter Taylor Friday 02 June 2006

Teo Mui Hong

[Teo Mui Hong bhn]

Mui Hong (centre), of Singapore, with her awards, and husband Sam Tan (left) and Professor Peter Taylor (right).

Rod Watson

Mr Rod Watson, an experienced Victorian mathematics teacher, received a BH Neumann Award from Trust Executive Director Peter Taylor and Director of Challenge Bruce Henry at a function at the Riverwalk Hotel, Melbourne, on Friday 05 May 2006.

[Rod Watson bhn]

Peter Taylor, Rod Watson and Bruce Henry.

[Rod Watson bhn]

From left Jennifer Watson, David Watson, Rod and Ann Watson and Andrew and Karen Edwards.

CITATION

Brought up in Hampton, a bay-side suburb of Melbourne, Rod showed a strong interest in mathematics at primary school, before going on to Chritian Brothers College, St Kilda, where he was inspired by a number of his teachers.

He went to University on a teacher’s scholarship, which paid just over £14 per fortnight and fees, in 1957. He completed a BA with a double major in mathematics and a sub-major in philosophy.

In his first years of teaching he also completed a BSc, kindling an interest in the history and philosophy of science. In the late 1960s and early 1970s he completed an MA in the history of mathematics, studying the contribution of Simon Stevin of Bruges to the development of the calculus, under the supervision of Dr John Pottage.

His first appointment was to Northcote High School, then a boys’ school, teaching year 12 calculus and applied mathematics, and being invited to join ETMEC, the Experimental Teaching in Mathematics Encouragement Committee. Here he worked with Graham Willis on teaching trigonometry using the unit circle.

In the 1960s he received various promotions and taught at University High School, Caulfield High School, RMIT Mathematics Department, Melbourne High School, McKinnon High School, and then becoming Deputy Principal at Moorleigh High School, where he was able to keep up his mathematics teaching.

He became a marker of the Higher School Certificate and member of the setting panel for Applied Mathematics in 1979. He continued to work on various setting panels until 2005. He was a member of the various panels for setting the curriculum variously through the 1970s and 1980s.

Rod was particularly involved in the preparation of syllabi for the core of new subjects Mathematics A and B as well as the Mechanics option, and he was largely responsible for the accreditation of the option Deductive Geometry. He has always advocated a greater role for geometry in the curriculum.

Rod spent two years as a Method Tutor with Melbourne University’s Faculty of Education, having responsibility for a group of Dip Ed students.

He also had two years as Mathematics Consultant, including responsibility for the moveable set of books and equipment called Maths Mobile.

Rod worked for over 10 years as a lecturer and two years as director of the MAV January camps for students beginning their study of year 12 mathematics.

He has been a member of groups supporting the learning of gifted and talented students: the Camberwell Cluster and the Bentleigh Cluster of the Gifted and Talented Task Force.

Since 1989 Rod has been Victorian First Stage Moderator for the Australian Mathematics Competition for the Westpac Awards, advising on the suitability of proposed problems for Victorian students. This has also led to him being a member of the Problems Committee itself on occasions. I personally worked with him on this until the death of Peter O’Halloran in 1994.

All of the above, together with his obvious enthusiasm, sense of humour, demeanor as a great teacher makes Rod an outstanding choice to be one of this year’s three winners of the Australian Mathematics Trust’s BH Neumann Award for his contribution to the enrichment of mathematics teaching.

Peter Taylor
Friday 05 May 2006