“The 12 Week Maths Teaching Transformation” – makeover your maths teaching. Feel great and teach better in just 1 term!
Ok so this is not the type of thing gaining 50,000 likes on Facebook or making hundreds of thousands of dollars, but if it was out there would it gain interest? Maybe. Is a 12 week makeover the answer to better teaching of maths? Probably not, especially with what we know about change in an education setting, along with Carol Dweck’s research into growth and fixed mindset. In my short experience but steep learning curve as a Numeracy Coach along with the experiences of a number of my colleagues, I have noticed some elements of improving maths teaching in relation to losing weight.
I have personally used the services of a nutrition planner and personal trainer and noticed sound results in doing so. Living with someone who is into healthy eating also has its benefits, as you are constantly around good habits. Similarly, having the support of a coach, mentor or trusted colleague to support with maths pedagogy has its positives. Being someone on both sides I have seen (in most cases) significant growth over time to suggest this is a valuable mode of operation.
Throughout the coaching process we look at making small improvements in the hope of producing significant growth over time (slow and steady wins the race). Health.com has a 10 Fast Weight Loss tips that while they don’t have a direct link to improving maths pedagogy raise the question, is it about making small changes to pedagogy one step at a time? –
swap the cake for a piece of fruit ditch page 29 of the text for an open ended task…Sometimes this is easier said than done.
Professor Peter Sullivan discusses ‘6 Principles for effective teaching of mathematics’ which have provided me as a coach a structure to follow. While they don’t give 10 weight loss tips or a plan to follow for 12 weeks, they do present a set of principles that guide and provide advice for teaching practice… much like visiting the nutrition planner.
We measure results in weight loss by the numbers (kilograms lost, body fat %, cm lost) which is generally a solid indicator that efforts put into place have made a positive impact. However this is not an easy task to measure the growth of a teacher by the numbers. Yes improvement in test scores can be influenced by good pedagogy but I have worked alongside brilliant teachers whose efforts aren’t always reflected in student achievement data.
Maybe we need to look at the before and after photos… what does the learning look like in our classrooms before and after? What are students noticing about the teaching? How do we feel as teachers about our pedagogy before and after some learning? Fitter, lighter, more energetic?
It would be an interesting concept to see how a 12 week maths teaching transformation would go for teachers. Would it be a sustainable strategy? Is there something in our schooling systems that need to change? Is dieting for maths teaching the way to go? These are the questions that continue to perplex me as an educational leader.
If a 12 week transformation fad isn’t the way to go, how do we get sustainable improvement in maths teaching?