The presentation we had on Wednesday night was something I very much needed at this point in my education. I could have listened to Rod Houk talk about assessment in a mathematics classroom for several hours, and I am wishing we had more time to talk with and learn from him. The way he speaks of assessment in a mathematics classroom is different than how I am being taught in my education mathematics courses. I am being taught to teach my mathematics lessons through inquiry, and nothing but inquiry; however, I still have difficulty understanding how to implement inquiry in mathematics classes, other than Workplace & Apprentice. When I think of teaching a mathematics lesson, I feel overwhelmed because I do not have a clear idea of how to teach it, but after listening to Rod’s presentation, he has made me feel more confident in my teaching abilities.
Rod said that if you are engaged in the material and ready to learn, then your students will be engaged and ready to learn as well. I agree with this fact because when I was in high school, if my teacher wasn’t engaged with the subject, then I wasn’t engaged with subject either, but if my teacher was engaged with the subject, then I was usually engaged with it as well. Jo Boaler talks about teachers who follow the traditional approach, but they also, “ask students great questions, engage them in interesting mathematical inquiries, and give students opportunities to solve problems, not just rehearse standard methods.” (p.39-40). This is something that Rod also mentioned in his presentation – it doesn’t matter which way you teach, all that matters is that you pose really good guiding questions and you engage your students.
I now know that there isn’t only one right way to teach mathematics, and that it can be done in multiple ways. I now know that if I don’t constantly teach through inquiry, I won’t be ruining my students’ futures. I now know that there are many ways to teach mathematics, and what matters the most is your relationship with the students. Rod mentioned that having relationships with your students is important for your students to succeed. When they feel that you want to be there and you want to teach them, then they will begin to want to be there and they will want to be taught.
My high school mathematics teacher was the absolute best. He joked around with us, he shared stories with us, and when I was in AP Calculus, he showed us a movie that related to teaching mathematics, and that movie has since been apart of my educational story. The movie Stand and Deliver has a great message about building relationships with students. It doesn’t matter where you come from, or how you teach, but as long as the relationship with the students is there, and the relationship is positive, then the students can amount to anything.
Rod’s presentation was fantastic, and he gave us many useful tools that I will definitely use in my education classes and in my future teaching careers.
Boaler, J. (2015). What’s Math Got To Do With It?: how teachers and parents can transform mathematics learning and inspire success. New York: Viking.
Musca, T. (Producer), & Menéndez, R. (Director). (1988). Stand and Deliver. [Motion Picture]. United States: Warner Bros.