Monday, May 18, 2009

Stigler on training teachers

Michael Goldenberg over at Rational Math Ed pointed this out on his blog and it's worth spreading out.

See this thread at the Math Forum for a transcript. Dr. Stigler is the co-author of The Teaching Gap and The Learning Gap, which distill research from The International Math and Science Study (TIMSS) into fresh and relevant information for any teacher, but especially math and science teachers.

The big points to me:
-Teaching is cultural => really hard to change
-Teaching needs to change <= student achievement data
-Teaching can only change gradually, but it can change, by focusing on teaching instead of teachers, and evaluating based on students' thinking and reasoning.

A relevant quote: "A review of research by Hiebert and Grouws identifies two features of classroom instruction that are associated with students' understanding of mathematics:
- CONNECTIONS: Making mathematical relationships-among concepts, procedures, ideas-explicit in the lesson
- STRUGGLE: Students spend at least some time struggling with important mathematics."

Check it out.

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