Building A Community of Math Learners
Creating Conditions for Math Learning
How does learning happen? What relationships and environments support it? What actions support children’s learning? What does theory and research tell us? These are questions with constantly evolving and shifting answers. While there are general principles and knowledge we can refer to, we must always think, feel, and act in ways that reflect the environment, the circumstances, and most importantly the children, families, and colleagues we have before us in every unique situation (pg. 5).
A shift in instruction also requires a shift in assessment practices. Teachers are no longer seeking the “correct” answer from students, but instead are listening to what students have to say to adjust their instruction and plan next steps accordingly. Promoting this type of learning environment requires not only giving good questions that prompt student thinking, but also carefully listening to and responding to students to deepen their mathematical thinking.
As Van de Walle notes, “If teachers do not seek out and value students’ ideas, students may come to believe that mathematics is a body of rules and procedures that are learned by waiting for the teacher to tell them what to do” (Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics 3-5, pg. 10).
This is a short paper by Jo in which she describes what mathematics classrooms should look like from her work in classrooms and research in mathematics education. This may be useful to give out to parents / administrators and others.
Growing evidence indicates that early mathematics plays a significant role in later education. From an analysis of six longitudinal studies, Duncan and colleagues found that early mathematics skills were more powerful predictors of later academic achievement in both mathematics and reading than attentional, socioemotional or reading skills (2007, p. 1428).
How can educators take advantage of the mathematical knowledge and experience that children bring to early primary classrooms?
Maximizing Student Mathematical Learning in the Early Years, pg. 1-2.