Saturday, September 19, 2015

Teaching Teacher Candidates

What do teacher candidates need to know in order to teach well?

Daniel Willingham recently wrote a New York Times editorial about the topic.

This year I'm leading a group of teacher candidates with regard to elementary math curriculum preparation. Willingham has something to say about that to in this post--a post that inspired a number of valuable follow-up comments and responses.

I want to consider Willingham's thoughts with greater depth in the coming days, but for now I want to think about where I am leading these future teachers.

They've already had some content review instruction, and many have taken and passed the State mathematics teacher exam. Hence, they have a base of knowledge for teaching math.

We started the course with a DOE publication about teaching math and an NCTM guide--both documents were timely and comprehensive with regard to developing a multi-faceted, relevant, successful, child-centered math program. We also spent some time creating ePortfolios and blogs to use for learning share, collection, and reflection.

Now we'll move into lots of nuts and bolts about teaching math including the following:
  • use of manipulatives and learning progressions
  • problem solving
  • vocabulary
  • lesson research, design, and implementation
  • related children's books
  • blended learning
  • tech tools and programs
  • algorithms
  • math workshop
  • STEAM and project based learning
  • assessment, data collection, and the use of data to inform instruction
I'll use examples that include the math concepts, knowledge, and skill that students most need to master as evidenced by a recent assessment I gave them. In the future, I'll rework that assessment as it was too long and the range was too large with regard to the information that would be most helpful to me.

By the end of the course, students will have learned about what's included in a strong math program, how to plan and implement learning experiences (lessons), advantageous tools and resources, and ways to research, organize, and promote engaging and empowering student learning in math.