To Fuss or not to Fuss: That Is the Math Question

Once a math teacher, always a math teacher.  I just adore teaching math, especially as I have learned more effective ways to do so.  The way I started teaching math is extremely different than how I would (and did) now. And that is a good thing!

On the one hand, I am thrilled at the attention that math instruction is receiving. On the other hand, I am very concerned.  Is the scrutiny that math instruction is receiving bothering anyone else? Why not the same scrutiny for other content areas?

Assuming the best, the scrutiny requires us to question our craft, to ensure that our purposes are sound, and to seek many ways to communicate and justify the why of what we do– kind of like showing our work. Another benefit that I hope occurs is that teachers and administrators yearn to learn more and to grow as math professionals.

Yet, the unintended consequence of such scrutiny is the perception that we don’t know what we are doing.  There are too many people out there asserting that this “new math”– oh yes, history is repeating itself– is doomed to fail because it is not the way they were taught.  And unfortunately, when schools shift to newer methods without robust professional learning and time for teachers to work through the changes, they are falling into the self-fulfilling prophecy dilemma.

What are your thoughts and ideas?



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