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Focus on Teacher and Student Mathematical Understandings

Improvement in teachers' practices requires a greater understanding of mathematics content. Recently, some have made the case for pedagogical content knowledge; that is, it is important that what the mathematics teachers learn is intimately connected to the mathematics they are teaching to their students (Ball & Bass, 2000; MA 1999). Two processes for teacher change that have been shown to be effective in mathematics education will play a central role in the professional development model (Ball, 2000; Ball, 2003). The first is the opportunity for teachers to do mathematics themselves where the emphasis is on learning with understanding. Thus, institutes and teacher meetings were structured in ways that asked teachers to be learners. The second is the opportunity to conduct close examination and discussion of student work. Regular teacher meetings and postings to a discussion board provided vehicles for this examination and discussion.

Pedagogical Goals
  • Work collaboratively on open-ended investigations
  • Share strategies and understandings orally and in writing
  • Justify answers in multiple ways
  • Use contexts that are meaningful to adults
  • Encourage various ways for entering and solving problems