Dr. Ron Tzur and his doctoral student Nicola Hodkowski join us in the studio for a discussion of their work related to Student Adaptive Pedagogy in the Upper Elementary Grades. This is a very promising field of enquiry that shows great potential for changing teaching of upper elementary students for the better. With its focus on student conceptualizations of number as its starting point, this theory has shown great success in predicting successful teacher moves that foster and spur on student development of multiplicative and fractional thinking. This team has recently published a well received study with the Psychology of Mathematics Education Association that used a rigorous mixed methodology to demonstrate that the four areas Nicola describes in the interview are strongly predictive of success for students.
Sunil Singh, the Mathematical Jester himself, joins us again via Skype this week. Yes he has a book that is just out (that everyone should read) and has been busy recording webinars and traveling about as a Lead Ambassador to the Global Math Project; but he stops to talk about some deep ideas with Chris. The conversation is a good lead in to the Global Mathematics Project’s Global Math Week coming up in October 2017. Referenced in today’s chat is an article by the former President of the Mathematical Association of America, Francis Su Ph.D. in which he describes “The Mathematics of Human Flourishing” (follow the link to the article itself). This idea that mathematics can, and should be taught as a subject to help children become more fully human pervades the discussion.
Chris is joined in the studio by James Tanton, and the conversation immediately gets turned upside down. James takes over from the start and asks Chris about how it was that he knew he wanted to study math. After his, perhaps too long-winded of a story, Chris finally wrests control back and asks James the same question. Their answers, while different in detail, are very similar in content and trajectory. Listen for the common themes of tolerance of frustration, delayed gratification, and a sense of shortcomings of School Maths. James is his perpetually positive self here, possessing an infectious, and joyful attitude towards the subject. Enjoy!
Senior Researcher for the Early Math Team, Paul Reimer tells a story of how things went during this past year as he and his team worked in HeadStart classrooms with children. He talks of how they came to understand Children’s mathematics through listening. This listening has had a profound impact on the team and what their next efforts will be. Already for the Academic year 2017-2018 this team has helped set the direction and emphasis of some 300 + Pre-School teachers in Fresno County alone.
Dr. Beyranevand joins in from his home in Massachusetts via Skype this week. We discuss the four areas he sees as being critical for effective teaching: Planning, Pedagogay, Assessment, and Relationships. These areas, as he claims and supports, are practical ways in which teachers, seasoned or newbie, can operate within a Constructivist paradigm of learning. Listeners who are intrigued and interested to learn more can find more in his book: Teach Math Like This, Not Like That.
Chris Brownell flies solo this week, as he declares an end to Summer 2017. He reflects upon three events that he was involved in and what they have meant to him. The need for humility, and openness when it comes to learning was driven home this summer it seems. These qualities are implied in the “Growth Mindset” discussion that is going on all over the mathematics education community. Chris also relates a story in which he observed the fragility of this mindset in learners, and provides a caution to us all to be “less helpful.”
Jason Chamberlain is a Research Associate who was working with the Early Math Team this past Spring. He talks with me about how he saw children progress through the earliest formal stages of counting and describes a game that this team developed to reflect these stages. His enthusiasm and passion for this process are abundant and obvious.
Elizabeth McDaniel, Elizabeth is a very exciting person to end this series with this year. She is a self-described “AIMS Kid.” She takes this title because, as she tells us, her auntie Carmella was (and is) an AIMS Facilitator while she was growing up and visiting her. Elizabeth tells of playing science with Aunt Carmella and how this has infused her teaching and her whole professional trajectory. With three years of formal connection to AIMS as a Facilitator she represents another of our new recruits, but in her case no recruiting seems to have been needed, she sees her involvement as a natural outgrowth of her whole upbringing.
Rachel Eure is one of AIMS newest of Facilitator recruits. She has been with us now for one full year. She tells us of how she came to AIMS early in her career as a teacher. Her enthusiasm for both teaching children through our activities and working with teachers to open their own mindsets is clear and infectious. She was in Fresno for our Facilitators workshops this summer and hung out with me at the end of a long day.
Debby Porcarelli, Deb as we call her around the office, heads up the Professional Learning Division. As such we start with her to give us a picture of what the vision is for this arm of the organization. After some history that gives us a sense of just how Deb has distinguished herself here, we hear her talk about how things are, and where she sees them going as we strengthen our models for professional learning.