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I am more than a teacher. I am an activator. I'm tasked with lighting thousands upon thousands of little ‘aha’ moments in little minds each year. Not each spark takes hold, but others explode! Sometimes, I get to see the magic take hold in the most powerful of ways.
As we implement higher standards across the country, it has become increasingly important that we identify and use a variety of strategies to assess student learning so that the appropriate interventions may be provided.
Recent conversations in my faculty lounge have drifted to the sentencing of educators in Georgia who were convicted of tampering with test materials. How did people who presumably care deeply about children end up breaking laws and serving prison time?
No one is average, and comparisons are situational—consider this question: Why is “average” in the statistical sense such a dominant theme in education? Why do so many people, especially policy makers and politicians, insist on ranking students, schools, teachers, and pretty much everything else on a single number, usually the average?
Sometimes the mathematics conversation is just as confusing to students as this collection of signs is to a driver in an unfamiliar situation. There appears to be a variety of symbols used to identify the different types of roads in the area, just as we have a variety of concepts, operations, and relations that are conveyed through symbolic notations.
In my previous blog, I argued for a dual topic approach to curriculum design. The framework outlined in that blog is based on a variety of research.
Some of this research is drawn from psychology and studies of human learning. These involve the development of automaticity and controlling cognitive load. Other design elements are associated with what we have learned over the years from international research, particularly the way successful countries focus on fewer topics with greater depth in their math curricula. Still other research is a synthesis of what we believe are best instructional practices in remedial and special education.