[CSD Math MS] Gearing up for teaching higher standards.
ALLISON.DUNCAN at canyonsdistrict.org
Thu Oct 30 10:28:58 MDT 2014
Mindy and receive newsletter from the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics. In this weeks newsletter we found the following snippet. We found it especially appropriate given the timing of the release of SAGE results.
Please know that Mindy and I are aware of how hard you all have worked to implement the standards. We see your dedication and passion and we truly appreciate the countless hours you put in to help our students learn.
To quote from the article: “Feeling overwhelmed by this torrent of change is neither a weakness nor a lack of professionalism,” he says. “It is an entirely rational response… We must select a few areas of focus and balance the fear and worries we understandably have in some areas with the pride and accomplishment and success we find in other areas. We must accept the inevitability of a sense of inadequacy and use it to stimulate the ongoing growth and learning that characterize the true professional.”
We have much to celebrate in Canyons Secondary Math and we have a lot of work to do.
Please let Mindy and I know if there is anything we can do for you. We are here to support you during this time of change.
Allison & Mindy
5. Advice for Math Teachers Gearing Up for Rigorous Standards
“Many of us chose mathematics teaching because it was always so neat and clean,” says math consultant Steven Leinwand in this Mathematics Teacher article. “Almost always, we arrived at only one numerical answer by using one right procedure that could be easily graded either right or wrong… But, oh, how things have changed!” He offers the following postulates for math teachers adjusting to ambitious new standards:
• We are being asked to teach in distinctly different ways from how we were taught. Parents tend to parent the way they were parented, and teachers tend to teach as they were taught. “We build on what is familiar because the familiar ‘feels right,’” says Leinwand. But the new expectations are unfamiliar territory for many teachers. “We need to increase opportunities for collegial classroom visits,” he advises, “and we need to increase our reliance on videotapes of what the distinctly different forms of pedagogy look like.”
• The traditional curriculum was designed to meet societal needs that no longer exist. New math standards were developed because “society’s needs and expectations for schools have shifted radically,” says Leinwand. “Schools cannot remain perpetuators of the bell curve, where only some were expected to survive and even fewer to truly thrive; education must be a springboard from which all must attain higher levels.”
• It is unreasonable to ask a professional to change much more than 10 percent a year, but it is unprofessional to change by much less than 10 percent a year. Changing one-tenth of one’s practice is about the right amount to ask of ourselves, says Leinwand – “large enough to represent real and significant change but small enough to be manageable.” This might be revamping one curriculum unit a year, changing questioning techniques, or introducing math journals. “Even the most radical proponent of reform should be satisfied with a change of this magnitude in our mathematics classes,” he contends, “and our most cautious and tradition-bound colleagues should be able to retain a real sense of control over such a rate of change.”
• If you don’t feel inadequate, you’re probably not doing the job. Just think what math teachers are being asked to do, says Leinwand:
- Use manipulatives and pictures much more frequently.
- Get students regularly working in groups.
- Work with heterogeneous groups.
- Focus on problems, communication, applications, and interdisciplinary work.
- Put more emphasis on statistics, geometry, and discrete mathematics.
- Use assessments that are more authentic and complex.
“Feeling overwhelmed by this torrent of change is neither a weakness nor a lack of professionalism,” he says. “It is an entirely rational response… We must select a few areas of focus and balance the fear and worries we understandably have in some areas with the pride and accomplishment and success we find in other areas. We must accept the inevitability of a sense of inadequacy and use it to stimulate the ongoing growth and learning that characterize the true professional.”
[Note that this article was published before the Common Core, referencing the NCTM standards, but the ideas are still relevant today. K.M.]
“Four Teacher-Friendly Postulates for Thriving in a Sea of Change” by Steven Leinwand in Mathematics Teacher, May 2007 (Vol. 100, #9, p. 582-583),
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