In this episode of Room to Grow, Curtis and Joanie welcome Kevin Dykema, new President of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). As a practicing classroom teacher, Kevin brings practical knowledge to his NCTM leadership. He reflects on they ways that most school systems have historically addressed students who are struggling in math class, to give them more-of-the-same, or a slower-and-louder approach, and how these typically don’t result in resolving students’ struggles.
Kevin suggests how to decide which mathematics topics are worth intervening on, recognizing that if we worry about student mastery of every single standard or topic of the grade level or course, we overwhelm the students and ourselves. Instead, if we focus on fewer, more important topics, we can support students’ future learning. He suggests that we use timely and relevant data to determine which students need support on which topics, and anticipating and planning for supports that come just-in-time to support new learning.
Acknowledging that intervention structure looks different at the middle and high school level than for elementary school, Kevin shares his thoughts about intentionally targeting math interventions that will support students for the long term, and finding time to intervene that doesn’t take away from their regular math instruction time. He shares the problems behind teaching “tricks” or gimmicks for helping students get answers quickly, but not understand the meaning of the mathematics behind those tricks.
Ultimately, building relationships with our students and attending to building their mathematical identities and agencies is what matters most. We know that every student brings “math brilliance” to the classroom, and finding and tapping into that creates wins for all of us.
This episode is packed full of important ideas and resources – we think you are going to love it!
We encourage you to explore these resources, mentioned and referenced in this episode:
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