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Geoff Tennant: Walking the Talk

Geoff Tennant: Brief Biography

Geoff Tennant grew up in South East London. After a gap year spent on short-term missionary service in Indonesia, he gained a first class degree in mathematics from the University of Cambridge and went on to the University of Warwick to train as a secondary mathematics teacher.

He then taught in comprehensive schools in Berkshire and London before becoming a PhD student at the Institute of Education, University of London, where he explored the idea that children experience the mathematics classroom differently according to gender, ethnicity and social class. He spent 12 years working in initial teacher training at the Universities of Leicester and Reading, including setting up, managing and teaching on 6 month full-time subject knowledge courses for candidates for mathematics teaching needing first to improve their subject knowledge. He was also instrumental in setting up local mathematical association branches at both Universities, with 3 well attended Saturday meetings a year aimed at both primary and secondary teachers wishing to engage with mathematics. Both of these are still going strong. Whilst working in Reading he was privileged to be involved with a project working with mathematics and science teachers in Jamaica, and visited for a total of 8 weeks over 3 years, working both with teachers and children looking to bring mathematics to life.

From September 2012 to April 2017 he worked with the Institute for Educational Development, East Africa, Aga Khan University, based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. His main role was head of teaching programmes, primarily responsible for the managing of the Master of Education programme, attracting teachers, teacher trainers, headteachers, Government officials and other education professionals from Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and beyond. During his time he oversaw the change from a 2-year to a 1-year model, working both at broad policy and implementation levels. Whilst in Africa he has worked with teachers in mathematics at Masters level and also run workshops for primary teachers.

From September 2017 Geoff is working as a full time school teacher, looking to 'walk the talk' after a prolonged period away. Main responsibility is teaching across the secondary age (11-18) and attainment range.  In addition he helps with the school choir as singer, pianist, organist and conductor, is on the rota for whole school assemblies, and is the school Union representative, interested primarily in the communication and representation aspects of the role. He maintains also a personal blog which can be accessed here. For more details see his CV.

Other Things to Know About Geoff

Geoff is an active Christian and is a member of an Anglican church near Basingstoke. He is a very experienced church musician as organist, pianist and choirmaster. Whilst a PhD student he was semi-professional, running the music at St James's Church, Muswell Hill, North London, a large evangelical Anglican church. He is gradually working his way through the Bible with the help of the New International Version Application Commentary series, and is interested in how his professional understanding of teaching and learning can be applied in a Christian context.

Since February 2012, when he went to Jamaica for 6 weeks before going to Tananzia later that year, Geoff has maintained a blog which can be accessed here. He looks to write a weekly entry which includes accounts of his travels, alongside thoughts on Christian living, 'no frills cooking', comments on current affairs, mathematics education and much more.

Geoff is a supporter of the Kampala Christian Orphanage which looks after 60 children aged 4-11 in Kiteme, Luwero District, Central Uganda.  He was privileged to make an extended visit in August 2019 and has been involved in a number of fund raising activities.

Geoff summarises what he has learnt in Africa according to 5 rules:

- don't drink the tap water;

- assume nothing;

- keep things as simple as possible;

- if out and about, have a private supply of drinking water;

- if you're going into an environment where you expect to sweat a lot, wear a white shirt.

His favourite saying at work : "Quality starts with compliance."

His favourite saying in personal life: "Why be laid back whilst worrying is still an option?"