Math Specialists/Supervisors Summary

Wednesday, July 2, 2003

As this was the last day that ALL the math specialists would be together since some were leaving early on Thursday, evaluation forms were distributed. A list of resource books for professional development was passed out along with a worksheet on which to jot down goals, obstacles, and solutions. The three districts McAllen, Seattle, and Cincinnati briefly discussed the PCMI professional development plan that was submitted for the NSF grant. During and after each presentation, questions were asked.

McAllen's professional development will revolve around the middle schools Math Works project that is already in place. Training in Japanese lesson study will be part of the professional development. The teachers will be mentored and will have access to the facilities on the university campus and they will have one reduced period per day.

Seattle's teachers will be selected and will receive a reduction in teaching load of one course for the semester. The teachers will be involved in regular meetings and workshops. Teachers will participate in on-going lesson study, content focused experiences and leadership training.

Cincinnati's plan involves selected teachers forming a team and holding monthly meetings on data gathering, culturally relevant teaching, mentoring strategies and other topics as they deem necessary. University faculty will mentor the teachers and teach content courses. During the second summer of the grant, a mini PCMI institute will be held.

In all three districts, the selected teacher leaders will attend PCMI each summer. A discussion of some of the obstacles that the districts may face ensued. These obstacles included some of the folowing:

  • the need for teachers to engage in study groups
  • lack of time for teachers to meet and discuss
  • need for administrators to be informed and understanding of the requirements of standards based mathematics
  • need for monitoring teachers who receive early release time
  • need for professional developers to be less judgmental
  • teaching an integrated program is difficult for teachers
  • the need to balance conceptual understanding with skill development
  • need for a common exam
  • need for teachers to become reflective

The session ended on a high note with a finding from Dr. Hiebert's TIMSS video study. There are a variety of effective teaching styles. Therefore, it is difficult to say exactly what good teaching looks like. However, discussion needs to be ongoing about what it means to learn and to understand and what kind of teaching supports understanding.

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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0314808.
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.