One of the biggest challenges math teachers face is the variety of mathematical backgrounds students bring with them to math class. Although state standards describe what students should know and be able to do at the end of the grade, more often than not, students move to the next grade or course with an incomplete mastery of pre-requisite content. In this episode of Room to Grow, Curtis and Joanie suggest that we reframe this reality: instead of thinking this is a problem to be solved, educators can embrace the diversity and leverage it to ensure that all students are progressing in their mathematical learning.
Our hosts start with an acknowledgement that all teachers are doing their best, and that all teachers want their students to be successful. From there, they discuss the importance of establishing strong relationships with student. Although it is cliché, it’s true that “students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” When students know their teacher believes in them and is willing to do what it takes to help them understand math, they are often more willing to put forth the effort and work past obstacles to learning.
Curtis and Joanie complete this episode by sharing planning strategies that keep learning for all students front of mind, and suggest ways that math educators can make adjustments to their planning and instructional practice that help more learners engage.
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