Imagine a new student will be coming to your class. As she talks to the other students she asks: "What do I have to do in this class to be successful?" How would your students respond? Take a second and write down your answer before reading on...
This question is meant to get at the current "mathematical practices" in your classroom. By mathematical practices we mean what do students repeatedly do as they engage in mathematics. Research has shown (Stigler, 1999) that in many US math classrooms, common mathematical practices include taking notes, mimicking rigid procedures, and symbolic manipulation. In contrast, recent standards documents (NGA, 2010) describe mathematical practice more akin to what a mathematics professional might do, including leveraging form, thinking with and through symbols, and asking questions.
Here at the CEML, we use the lens of literacy to examine our current mathematical practices and then shift the classroom culture into one that promotes equitable access to powerful mathematical practices.
In future posts we will explore specifics about how we leverage literacy to transform the local definition of what it means to "do mathematics"!
National Governors Association Center for Best Practices & Council of Chief State School Officers. (2010). Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. Washington, DC: Authors.
Stigler, James W. (1999). The teaching gap : best ideas from the world's teachers for improving education in the classroom. New York :Free Press,