In article <199511131556.KAA04070@oak.cc.swarthmore.edu>, firstname.lastname@example.org (katie laird) wrote:
The willingness to take up questions to which one does not have the answer takes bravery. But the rewards are > great. That is, we grow up believing that teachers know everything about > the subject they teach. The problem with this idea is that then teachers > never model for their students how THEY would go about learning. The > really great thing about a teacher who is open to addressing questions to > which she does not know the answer is that the students get to see a model > of learning and searching that perhaps they had previously not thought > possible.
Perhaps this is not the most important part > of our geometry curriculum, but it seems to be important to set up a > classroom culture where there is no one person who always has the answers > (ie-the teacher). This is not just about math, but about the way we > construct knowledge in our schools. >
I think making teachers models of learning and problem-solving IS one of the "most imporant parts" of any curriculum, and that this modelling plays an especially crucial role in mathematics instruction. By emphasizing their own role as learners and participating in the problem-solving process as fellow constructors of understanding rather than instructors, teachers may act to eliminate the "taboo" of discussing math concepts. By stepping outside of students' and educators' perception of teachers as all-knowing and incorporating themselves into classroom learning, it seems teachers could also help de-mystify mathematical concepts and contextualize them for their students; if teachers play the role of learners seeking understanding of a particular concept and mastery of a certain skill, students may begin to see the WHY behind their own learning. Finally, this teacher-as-learner model becomes crucial in defining classrooms as __resources for__ constructing understanding rather than just sources for receiving knowledge, and in creating a "classroom culture" in which learning, understanding and instruction play equally important roles.