I wrote yesterday about my learning from Chapter One of Make it Stick. One of my take aways from this chapter that I struggled with is having students solve problems before instruction. I wrote that as a learner I would have had too much anxiety struggling with something that I haven’t been taught. I like knowing I can do some skill before concerning myself with the meaning. Backwards, I know.
While discussing this with my math teacher friend and mentor, @druinok, I admitted that this belief has likely held my students back. I mean, I’ve used discovery learning or inquiry learning with my students. I’ve even created a number of activities that allow students to explore topics before instruction or used some created by my amazing twitter colleagues. But, I never really believed in their efficacy. I think my perceived past learning style biased me against these methods. That’s a shame. I wonder how many of my students craved exploration to make meaning while I was providing my meaning?
So, I’m going to stop imposing my perceived learning style on my students. I’m going to shake off my bad habits and commit to varied forms of instruction and inquiry to meet the needs of all learners.
I’m very grateful that twitter and blogging offer a safe and nurturing environment in which I may explore my thoughts around teaching and learning. I’m fortunate to have so many partners in mathematics education to hold me accountable and challenge me to improve my practice. Blessings to you all.