District Administration March 2018 - 55

SPONSORED CONTENT

Sara Delano Moore, Ph.D.
ORIGO Education
Professional Learning

Changing the culture of mathematics
instruction to better prepare students
Using technology to supplement and complement the work of math teachers
What should change about the current culture of
mathematics instruction?
We are preparing students who are in school today for jobs
that we cannot yet imagine. We need to change school
culture, including math instruction, to reflect societal
change. We need to help students learn to use mathematics
as a tool to recognize and respond to what's happening in
the world around them. Instruction has to change to make
that happen. Mathematics in today's society is not about
memorizing facts, but about understanding which variables
impact the way we tackle problems and their solutions.
For example, I would argue that today a relevant way to
teach variables in algebra is as the references for cells in
spreadsheets. This representation and the way we work
with spreadsheets can help teachers and students talk
about mathematics in a different way.
Talk about the growing need for professional
development for K12 mathematics educators.
We are asking teachers to change how they teach
mathematics. Professional development is essential
to show educators this new practice. We might have
a workshop setting that shows a math class in which
participants focus on learning and discourse within small
groups that work together to solve challenging problems.
We need to give teachers the opportunity to experience
this kind of learning themselves before we ask them to use
it in their own teaching. Professional development must
both model the new practices and provide teachers with
strategies to implement these new practices.
Through their own professional learning, how can
educators help students develop a deep understanding,
fluency of skills and applications of mathematics?
The changes we are talking about will help teachers make
learning more enjoyable for students, which will make
learning more productive. If teachers have the broader
content knowledge-if they not only know the steps
for an algorithm multiplying two-digit numbers, but they

"We need to help students learn to
use mathematics to recognize and
respond to what's happening in the
world around them. Instruction has
to change to make that happen."
also understand why it works and that there are other
ways to approach it-they will be able to help students
understand which strategy and approach work best in
which situation. Teachers can gain strength from working
in collaboration. For example, if I teach third grade and I
spend time talking with my colleagues in second grade
and fourth grade, I can better understand what to expect
of students entering third grade and what fourth-grade
teachers expect the following year. It's also about
research-based practice. The work of John Hattie on
Visible Learning, for example, shows if teachers want to
build math fluency, spreading out the work over time, or
spaced practice, is more effective than massed practice
with large sets of problems on worksheets.
What is the role of technology in the culture change we're
talking about? How is tech driving the change? How can
it help make the change more productive?
Technology supplements and complements what teachers
can do, but it cannot replace their work. Technology
gives teachers more resources, support and options. The
availability of resources across print and digital platforms
provides flexibility to make these changes in teaching
practice at a rate that fits the needs of individual teachers.

To read more from Dr. Sara Delano Moore, visit origoeducation.com/blog/using-the-right-problem
View, comment, share this story online at DAmag.me/origo


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration March 2018

District Administration March 2018 - Cover1
District Administration March 2018 - Cover2
District Administration March 2018 - 1
District Administration March 2018 - 2
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District Administration March 2018 - Cover3
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