Since I got into San Francisco Tuesday night, I decided to attend NCTM’s research conference since it was open to me. I also prefer to scope out places before I have to be somewhere so I felt way more comfortable Thursday when “teacher” sessions started. As a warning, of any of the days at NCTM annual, these reflections are the most likely to be inaccurate so feel free to take anything with a grain of salt, but my blog is for me not you 😛
How Research into Second-Language Learning Might be useful to Mathematics Educators: Brent Davis
Davis argued that there are three types of teachers: Standardized education where knowledge is a series of things, Authentic/Reform Education where knowledge is about personal interpretations and connecting to create webs of knowledge. The third group is a group in between. This inbetween group is where most teachers are, but they don’t self identify as strongly with where their classroom lies. These teachers aren’t completely reform teachers but instead their inbetween state makes them easy critics of “traditional” educators. Davis’s talk made me self reflective about my current position and philosophy as an educator.
– I currently speak this middle language and isn’t very coherent
– I need to become more internally consistent – my beliefs should match my classroom and once again…they currently don’t. They both need work to give me a stronger voice.
Mathematics and the African American Males’ Graduation Success: Stuart
Stuart looked at black graduates from HBCUs and PWIs to see how different things impacted their college careers. When interviewing individuals, the only significant variable was having a relationship with a professor – which was more likely at an HBCU than a PWI. Students were also more likely to talk to faculty about career plans at HBCUs than at PWIs.
I went to this session to be a more informed advocate, and left that way. The information and discussion wants me to advocate for smaller institutions that cater to first generation students, or at least make sure students will are informed in their choice (I don’t think they currently are as informed as possible about kinds of colleges and universities).
Instructional Practices related to Students’ Conceptions of Mathematics: Grady
Grady studied a teacher who taught an Algebra 1 in 2 years course and looked at how he pushed his students to change conceptions of mathematics to a more coherent body of work.
A couple quick take aways:
– the teacher gave problems without context, but were easily relatable to students. They then built the context into the problem and worked it from there
– The teacher went down any rabbit hole to address student thinking and insight
– Most of class was spent on review, diving deep into a very few concepts
– the teacher kept going back to basic understandings every time a concept came up by making connections and repeating explanations. He also designed the course to provide a continuous review of content.
Personally, if I teach our remedial math course next year, I’ll look back at these take aways for personal implementation and reflection.