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Approaching Mathematics Utopia?

Abstract

"Collaboration, co-teaching, and coaching can be very different, yet each of these aspects of cooperative teaching involves similar layers of negotiating, planning, listening, and reflecting on the instruction and student understanding. I know that I must continue to work on being a good listener and ingrain those questions that will help a teacher reflect on the mathematics that will produce the collaborative teaching experience I envision. I have learned that it is critical to be explicit in my own intentions and expectations. Negotiating for time may be a constant frustration, but making the time for collaboration is crucial to the success of any and all aspects of teaching.

Most importantly, the lesson to be learned is that the learning goes on-it doesn't stop here-and that effecting change takes time. I've just come across something in my journal that I need to post on my wall at home and at school: "The true joy in improving things is the small, daily achievements along the way." We must revel in the baby steps to appreciate the strides. Perhaps we will never reach "mathematical utopia." There is always room for improvement, revealed through reflection on practice and pedagogy, and isn't that the point? As stated in the Principles and Standards for School Mathematics:
Teacher Leaders can have a significant influence by assisting teachers in building their mathematical and pedagogical knowledge. Leaders (especially Mathematics Specialists) face the challenge of changing the emphasis of the conversation among teachers from "activities that work" to the analysis of practice [1].

Enhancing mathematics instruction to facilitate mathematical proficiency requires us to develop and design the best lessons possible, but we must continue to learn from our own lessons as well."

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