Summer 2011 News for Southern 2 Region
Ted Hull, Southern 2 Regional Director
Summer is the perfect time for mathematics leaders to actually reflect on their work. Even though summers are often busy, there is still more available time than during the school year. As leaders reflect, they want to think about their goals, progress toward their goals, and determine the next steps they need to take as the new school year begins.
Regardless of the state where the mathematics leader resides, or the district or campus where the leader may work, one critical goal is to improve mathematics learning and achievement by increasing student engagement in mathematics lessons. While challenging, increasing student engagement is the secret to success. Engaging lessons increase student attention. They further increase motivation, and increase student's mathematical thinking and reasoning.
As mathematics leaders reflect on their progress, they should consider what most mathematics classrooms look like during lesson time. Are students participating, and if so, how are they participating? Are the questions asked during instruction encouraging student thinking, or promoting recall responses? Do lessons ebb and flow from the teachers to the students and back in a fluid manner?
Another area for reflection is one of connection. Do the mathematics lessons connect and build over time, or is each lesson independent from the previous and next? Engaging lessons must help students grasp mathematical concepts, and this demands time. Is adequate time devoted to concept development?
A third area of concern for mathematics leaders is with instructional materials and curriculum documents. Are the documents supportive of the goals leaders are working to achieve, or do they actually undermine progress? Curriculum documents need to support teachers in their efforts to build conceptual understanding through active engagement.
These reflective areas may provide direction to mathematics leaders as they prepare for the upcoming school year. NCSM is working to provide support to leaders in these areas and more. The Board meets in July to plan for next year, and if you have suggestions, please contact me.