Let’s Talk about High-Quality Mathematics Instruction – Part 2
Engaging in Flexible Thinking and Problem-Solving
By: Jason Gauthier, Ph.D.
Mathematics Education Consultant
Allegan Area Educational Service Agency
In my last post, I summarized the process a group of us went through to develop a vision of high-quality mathematics instruction (HQMI) that reflected what we believed as mathematics educators, what we wanted for our students, and what we could support with research. We developed a vision that allowed us to be clear and succinct in discussing the what of HQMI. We never intended to stop with the “what.” Rather, we also spent a significant amount of time puzzling through, debating, and generally thinking deeply about the how of HQMI as well. And that is where I’ll pick up in this post.
The How of HQMI
So, let’s talk about the how of HQMI—particular practices and mindsets that allow teachers to do the work we’ve described. As part of the process of creating this vision of HQMI, the group developed our initial work in considering student and teacher actions through examining our own beliefs about mathematics, teaching, and identity. This was an important step because, as Hiebert (1999) reminded us, research can do many things, but it can’t tell you what you value. This post is concerned with diving a bit deeper into how teachers can create the conditions for students to effectively “Engage in Flexible Thinking and Problem-Solving” in mathematics classrooms. Along the way, I’ll do my best to connect to research via both citations and brief explanations of important findings.
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