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One goal of our MIPS (Math Improvement thru Problem Solving)...

Issue Addressed:

One goal of our MIPS (Math Improvement thru Problem Solving) grant is to help elementary teachers in 5 rural NC districts transform their math instruction to value inquiry and discourse. We thought teachers would have a more difficult time giving up traditional methods of teaching math than adopting new strategies for unfamiliar math content. We also thought a fellow teacher would bring more rapid credibility than an "expert" not immediately from classroom practice.


We adopted as our first training 7 curriclum priority "Teach Stat," an NSF-developed project to train teachers how to use statistics and data analysis in their classrooms. We also selected one of the earliest and most successful pioneers in Teach Stat as a lead teacher for the project, as well as relying on teachers and investigators who pioneered its use. So far these strategies seem to be working beyond our wildest dreams, with widespread evidence of participation in summer training, "wall art" which demonstrates teachers' use of Teach Stat, and participation in followup training sessions.

Unresolved Issues:

It remains to be seen how teachers' experience with the inquiry/discourse instructional methods of Teach Stat will translate to transforming traditional methods of teaching more familiar math content. Our experience so far with experienced Teach Stat teachers in an advanced Math Dev. workshop indicates the process encounters more initial scepticism but is succesful in getting teachers to rethink how children learn math.


Mack McCary, 1/13/1998


Professional Development



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