A Saskatoon Public Schools teacher who uniquely engages students and colleagues alike in mathematics has received national recognition for his work.
Nat Banting, a mathematics teacher at Marion M. Graham Collegiate and consultant for the school division, is the recipient of the Margaret Sinclair Memorial Award for "advancing the possibility of the mathematics classroom as a space for mathematical thinking and appreciation, and also for modelling a wider innovative possibility – that of the teacher in a digital age."
The award, which is presented annually by Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences at the University of Toronto, recognizes a Canadian educator who demonstrates innovation and excellence in promoting mathematics education at the elementary, secondary, college or university level. It includes a $5,000 prize and the delivery of a public lecture.
"His commitment to promoting accessibility within the mathematical sciences is emblematic of his devotion to innovation and education," the Fields Institute said in a news release.
As a teacher, Banting initiated high school math fairs, first at Tommy Douglas Collegiate and later at Marion Graham. The popular event — which relies on the leadership of ambitious colleagues as well as Banting's current and former students — invites Grade 8 students from neighbouring schools to engage in unique mathematical learning. Math fairs are also a way to help students prepare for a smooth transition from elementary to high school the following year.
Banting has curated various division-based curriculum projects, produces classroom resources, and has "the privilege of working with the division's Grade 6-12 teachers in envisioning, designing, and enacting vibrant mathematical opportunities for students," he said.
The committee noted that Banting's voice across social media serves to make mathematics accessible for many, including high school and university students, researchers, and teachers. His Musing Mathematically blog shares information about teaching techniques and maintains an accessible approach to exploring mathematics. His Twitter account, @NatBanting, offers day-to-day insight into his approach to mathematics and commitment to student learning and engagement. He is also a director for the Saskatchewan Mathematics Teachers' Society.
Banting holds a master's degree in Secondary Education from the University of Alberta and is actively engaged with mathematics education research. Academically, his focus is on the ecological and biological roots of cognition, the pragmatics of groups within high-density mathematics classrooms, and student impressions of probability.