This is the twelfth in a series of questions, concerns, issues, and comments related to the NCTM's 1991 document "Professional Standards for Teachers of Mathematics," and the last posting for the third set of standards. Today, I will focus on Standards 5 & 6, pp 160-173. [Readers who missed any of the previous eleven postings may e-mail me direct and I will forward whatever you want]. Because all questions are numbered consecutively for reference purposes, I'll start today with number 125.
Ron Ward/Western Washington U/Bellingham, WA 98225
125. I don't normally list any part of the standards since we want people to read the document, but because Standard 5 is focused on DEVELOPING as a teacher of mathematics and has relevance for all of us who think of ourselves as teachers, I'll list the bulleted subtopics, and subscribers can select any one to discuss:
"The preservice and continuing education of teachers of mathematics should provide them with opportunities to:
*examine and revise their assumptions about the nature of mathematics, how it should be taught, and how students learn mathematics; *observe and analyze a range of approaches to mathematics teaching and learning, focusing on the tasks, discourse, environment, and assessment; *work with a diverse range of students individually, in small groups, and in large class settings with guidance from and in collaboration with mathematics education professionals; *analyze and evaluate the appropriateness and effectiveness of their teaching; *develop dispositions toward teaching mathematics."
126. On a couple of occasions in the elaboration text, the writers mention a "growing sense of self as teacher" or a sense of self as a certain kind of teacher. If you feel that you have such a "sense" what does it include? How did you develop it?
127. In Vignette 5.1, it seems to me that the question placed on the board is a poor one;namely, "Show what is more, 2/6 or 1/3." What do you think?
128. Again, the writers have used the cross-reference chart on page 167 to illustrate each of the current subtopics in the vignettes from the second set of standards. This is similar to what they did back in Standard 4 in case you are utilizing such a tool in your work with students.
129. Once again, because Standard 6:The Teacher's Role in Professional Development" clearly affects us all (as long as we're lifelong learners, that is), I'll at least list the bulleted subtopics:
"Teachers of mathematics should take an active role in their own professional development by accepting responsibility for:
*experimenting thoughtfully with alternative approaches and strategies in the classroom; *reflecting on learning and teaching individually and with colleagues; *participating in workshops, courses, and other educational opportunities specific to mathematics; *participating actively in the professional community of mathematics educators; *reading and discussing ideas presented in professional publications; *discussing with colleagues issues in mathematics and mathematics teaching and learning; *participating in proposing, designing, and evaluating programs for professional development specific to mathematics; *participating in school, community, and political efforts to effect positive change in mathematics education."
I would ask, how frequently do you experiment? When do you reflect? How do you find out about educational opportunities for yourself? Does your school maintain and make accessible quality professional journals for your reading?
130. In the elaboration section, the writers say that professionalism among teachers is built through a "support system that links them to colleagues inside and outside the schools." What kind of support system do you have?
131. Would anyone care to comment on the statement from Vignette 6.2, "Topics such as long division and decimals don't lend themselves readily to the use of manipulatives"?
132. In Vignette 6.3, there is a discussion of one practice in a methods class whereby practicing teachers participate as guest speakers because "the prospective teachers valued the opinions of practicing teachers." Perhaps some of you could share with the listserve any special components of your math methods classes which you find particularly effective.
This is the last Professional Standards posting I will put on the NCTM Listserve until after the winter break, although I may write a little "Twelve Postings of Standards" song for the holidays. :) But feel free to comment on any of these items (as well as earlier questions) or to pose your own questions, raise issues, express concerns or comments as usual. As always, the intent is to encourage subscribers to familiarize themselves with the 1991 Professional Standards and to provide a forum for sharing ideas and discussion. Have a pleasant break.