posted by:

Judith Fonzi
on May 16, 2003
at 11:31AM

subject:

Implications for PD

Some of you have raised really interesting and important questions about "what content" and "how to support teachers to learn content". I have been grappling with these same questions now that Deborah has challenged us to refocus our lens.
The primary goal of our K12 mathematics MSP is to "deepen everyone's content knowledge" and for us everyone means mathematicians, teachers, parents, community members and students. We knew that there were differences in "what" content knowledge we would be working on with each of these different groups but we certainly hadn't thought about it in the way Deborah is urging !
So now we're in a bad news  good news situation. The bad news is that we have already begun developing and implementing our Algebra/Geometry course for K20 mathematics teachers and we have been teaching "new" content (mathematics that either didn't exist or wasn't taken when they were in college but is now important to the K20 curriculum) using an inquiry pedagogy.
The good news is that we have 2 more semesters of this course to develop and implement ! So I've sent copies of Deborah's keynote to our development team (mathematicians and K12 Lead Teachers) and have asked them to think about the questions raised in the talk and to start jotting down the mathematics they and their teacher colleagues are employing as they teach. The plan is for us to grapple with this question of "what mathematics teachers need to know" from this new perspective and consider if and how it should impact our course content. I'm thinking it will have a significant impact on both what we decide to "cover" and how we do so ! I'm thinking we, mathematics teachers, probably need to talk about this "mathematics content teachers need to know and be able to do" so that we become aware of it and can explicitly begin working on it. For example, if I realize that I must often appraise a novel solution approach then I can work at developing mathematical strategies for doing so. Then, as a way to support that learning I imagine more, and more explicit, discussions of "how I came to XX conclusion  what mathematics did I know, why I chose that particular mathematical approach/way of thinking, what else went into my decision (things I know about my students', about myself, about my context).
And we thought our work as PD providers was already complex ...
I am really interested to know what others are thinking about the implications of Deborah's work.

