Teaching mathematics for understanding

Edward A. Silver, Vilma M. Mesa, Katherine A. Morris, Jon R. Star and Babette M. Benken have written an article that was published in the most recent issue of American Educational Research Journal. The article is called Teaching Mathematics for Understanding: An Analysis of Lessons Submitted by Teachers Seeking NBPTS Certification. Here is the abstract of their article:

The authors present an analysis of portfolio entries submitted by candidates seeking certification by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards in the area of Early Adolescence/Mathematics. Analyses of mathematical features revealed that the tasks used in instruction included a range of mathematics topics but were not consistently intellectually challenging. Analyses of key pedagogical features of the lesson materials showed that tasks involved hands-on activities or real-world contexts and technology but rarely required students to provide explanations or demonstrate mathematical reasoning. The findings suggest that, even in lessons that teachers selected for display as best practice examples of teaching for understanding, innovative pedagogical approaches were not systematically used in ways that supported students’ engagement with cognitively demanding mathematical tasks.

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