#MustRead Shares (weekly)

  • tags: #MustRead stopdoinglist pruning subtraction sayingNO

  • Incredible article, masterfully written, about the recent history of math education, with a Japanese and American comparative analysis. Goes into the beauty of lesson study and instructional rounds – job-embedded, contextual, local case study of enhancing professional practice. Deep connections to Jo Boaler’s work. Dan Meyer.

    tags: #MustRead math mathematics matheducation Lesson study Instructional_Rounds

    • where Matsuyama taught, he turned his classroom into a kind of laboratory, concocting and trying out new teaching ideas.
    • Instead of having students memorize and then practice endless lists of equations — which Takahashi remembered from his own days in school — Matsuyama taught his college students to encourage passionate discussions among children so they would come to uncover math’s procedures, properties and proofs for themselves.
    • The Americans might have invented the world’s best methods for teaching math to children, but it was difficult to find anyone actually using them.
    • In fact, efforts to introduce a better way of teaching math stretch back to the 1800s. The story is the same every time: a big, excited push, followed by mass confusion and then a return to conventional practices.
    • The trouble always starts when teachers are told to put innovative ideas into practice without much guidance on how to do it.
    • But our innumeracy isn’t inevitable. In the 1970s and the 1980s, cognitive scientists studied a population known as the unschooled, people with little or no formal education. Observing workers at a Baltimore dairy factory in the ‘80s, the psychologist Sylvia Scribner noted that even basic tasks required an extensive amount of math. For instance, many of the workers charged with loading quarts and gallons of milk into crates had no more than a sixth-grade education. But they were able to do math, in order to assemble their loads efficiently, that was “equivalent to shifting between different base systems of numbers.” Throughout these mental calculations, errors were “virtually nonexistent.” And yet when these workers were out sick and the dairy’s better-educated office workers filled in for them, productivity declined.
      • Fascinating paragraph about learning in context and the power of applied use to deepen one’s understanding of subject area or discipline. Argument for real-world context and PBL approach.
    • The cognitive-science research suggested a startling cause of Americans’ innumeracy: school.
    • How could you teach math in school that mirrors the way children learn it in the world?
    • She knew there must be a way to tap into what students already understood and then build on it. In her classroom, she replaced “I, We, You” with a structure you might call “You, Y’all, We.” Rather than starting each lesson by introducing the main idea to be learned that day, she assigned a single “problem of the day,” designed to let students struggle toward it — first on their own (You), then in peer groups (Y’all) and finally as a whole class (We). The result was a process that replaced answer-getting with what Lampert called sense-making.
    • Consequently, the most powerful influence on teachers is the one most beyond our control. The sociologist Dan Lortie calls the phenomenon the apprenticeship of observation. Teachers learn to teach primarily by recalling their memories of having been taught, an average of 13,000 hours of instruction over a typical childhood. The apprenticeship of observation exacerbates what the education scholar Suzanne Wilson calls education reform’s double bind. The very people who embody the problem — teachers — are also the ones charged with solving it.
    • Left to their own devices, teachers are once again trying to incorporate new ideas into old scripts, often botching them in the process.
    • When Akihiko Takahashi arrived in America, he was surprised to find how rarely teachers discussed their teaching methods. A year after he got to Chicago, he went to a one-day conference of teachers and mathematicians and was perplexed by the fact that the gathering occurred only twice a year. In Japan, meetings between math-education professors and teachers happened as a matter of course, even before the new American ideas arrived. More distressing to Takahashi was that American teachers had almost no opportunities to watch one another teach.
    • In Japan, teachers had always depended on jugyokenkyu, which translates literally as “lesson study,” a set of practices that Japanese teachers use to hone their craft. A teacher first plans lessons, then teaches in front of an audience of students and other teachers along with at least one university observer. Then the observers talk with the teacher about what has just taken place. Each public lesson poses a hypothesis, a new idea about how to help children learn. And each discussion offers a chance to determine whether it worked. Without jugyokenkyu, it was no wonder the American teachers’ work fell short of the model set by their best thinkers.
    • The best discussions were the most microscopic, minute-by-minute recollections of what had occurred, with commentary.
    • Of all the lessons Japan has to offer the United States, the most important might be the belief in patience and the possibility of change. Japan, after all, was able to shift a country full of teachers to a new approach. Telling me his story, Kurita quoted what he described as an old Japanese saying about perseverance: “Sit on a stone for three years to accomplish anything.”
    • To cure our innumeracy, we will have to accept that the traditional approach we take to teaching math — the one that can be mind-numbing, but also comfortingly familiar — does not work. We will have to come to see math not as a list of rules to be memorized but as a way of looking at the world that really makes sense.
  • What’s your brand? Your mark as an educator? HT @GeoMouldey

    tags: #MustRead

  • Old paradigm vs New paradigm professional learning. Episodic and siloed vs embedded and contextual.

    HT @romathio

    tags: professional development PLC professional learning #MustRead

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

2 thoughts on “#MustRead Shares (weekly)

  1. Deploy or die! What a huge shift this will create in learning and instructional models. Thanks for sharing this, Bo. I consistently follow your lead for relevant links. Thanks for your passion to pull learning into a new realm.

    • Karyl,
      Thank you so much for your kind words. I enjoy saving to Diigo just about all that I read, and I particularly enjoy saving the #MustRead list to serve others who might benefit from such a curation.
      Bo

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