At their very core, we know that math educators want their students to reach their full potential--so much so that they are constantly seeking opportunities to explore the connections between promising practices in mathematics education and student identity and agency. And through it all, they are always observing how specific approaches benefit their students at particular times.
- Seeking to better understand their students’ needs--by creating windows and mirrors in mathematics education
- Questioning the quality of their resources to engage their students--resources that model balancing inquiry with the development of procedural fluency, and in meaningful contexts
- Feeling like they’re doing everything on their own; and
- Knowing that having some guidance on what to look for, different approaches, and what to do when they’re unsure would be most welcomed.
As educators navigate these tensions, they come to realize that they need to learn just as much as their students if they're to reach their full potential. Educators--just like me and you--need timely, relevant and responsive support, and not because we're not good enough, but rather that we aspire to be and do more in service of student learning.
As you continue reading, keep the following question top-of-mind:
and inclusive learning environments and experiences in mathematics?
Desmos--often thought of as a student's solution to anything requiring a graphic calculator--has become one of math education's leading technologies. The reason? Examining its suite of resources for educators quickly reveals the following about the pedagogical principles that drive every aspect from design to launch:
We know that differentiated approaches are driven by assessment practices--these practices making mathematics education more equitable and inclusive. In reflecting upon the pedagogical principles that drive every aspect from design to launch, I’m inspired that each of these principles respects and supports equitable and inclusive approaches to mathematics teaching and learning.
Regarding assessment--with the goal of improving student learning--it's key that educators have support to collaboratively explore what successful learning looks like, how to incorporate tools and tasks, and how to use data to inform their practice. Assessment practices inform instruction, and further to this, they inform our approaches to differentiation, which is absolutely critical for teaching and learning in an equitable and inclusive manner.
We also need to know, recognize and take ownership over the learning we can do together to ensure that both windows and mirrors are present and actioned through the curriculum we build and use and through the pedagogical supports available to and used by educators.
Students and their teachers will know that they and their best interests are being supported. To this end, those who use and interact with Desmos lessons, tools, materials and community will know and understand that ...
- Tasks are within their grasp. Each context being relevant and meaningful. And that they will have opportunities to create, understand, and question.
- Their goals and interests are of concern. They will see and know themselves as learners of mathematics. They will be able to set goals and monitor their progress towards them.
- There are opportunities for mastery. Reflection is encouraged.
- Programming is designed to help them continue their study of mathematics.
No matter your role in Education or where you’re at in your professional journey, you’ll find opportunities throughout the series to see yourself and what’s possible for you, your colleagues and, most importantly, your students.
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In closing, I can't help but to think of the conversations that can be inspired when we take collective action to improving student learning. As this blog is a means for readers to network and gradually change the context for how they learn, teach and lead, we all benefit by drawing nearer to the perspectives shared here and shared beyond with our professional learning networks.
I am more than happy to collaborate with you and make our learning visible, here. If at any time, you have questions or comments, please feel free to comment to this blog and/or reach out to me.
Chris Stewart, OCT
Educational Consultant, Flipping the Focus (c) 2020