by Catherine Hoven
Wow! This chapter, through the context of Terry’s class, provided many opportunities to reflect. First and foremost, teachers need to know their students! I love the following quote from page 4. “Really doing mathematics involves working at the edge of your mathematical knowledge and enjoying the puzzlement. Too often teachers try to simplify problems so that the students can more easily arrive at the teacher’s answer.”
As teachers we often rescue students before they have had an opportunity to make meaning from the task, and in doing so we are taking away an opportunity for them to struggle and grow. It is important that we know how and when to scaffold, and when to back off. Sometimes students are on the cusp of a great learning moment when the teacher interferes and sends the students off in another direction, and the moment is lost.
“As Terry moves from group to group her support and questioning changes in relation to what the children are investigating and the ideas and strategies each child is in the process of constructing.” (p.7) Each child is at a different place developmentally and the teacher skillfully supports their learning without leading them to her way of making sense of the math. Her support is right at the edge of their development and she is able to stretch their thinking rather than simply giving them a solution. It doing this the students are thinking, planning, patterning, creating, reasoning, discovering and communicating their learning in a manner that makes sense to them.
They are mathematizing and when this happens …it is amazing! However, this requires a lot of skill, content knowledge, pedagogy and practice. I have so much to learn.
Featured image by Annie Spratt on Unsplash