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Perhaps the most difficult challenge we are facing in implementing...

Issue Addressed:

Perhaps the most difficult challenge we are facing in implementing inquiry-based math is the tendency of teachers and parents to doubt that all students are capable of learning to think and reason about math, especially when they lack basic skills. Typically, some teachers will "back off" challenging tasks when they encounter initial resistance from students.


We have utilized successful risk-taking teachers in training and followup sessions to offer testimony & encouragement for sustaining tasks at a high level when students play helpless & try to get the teacher to solve their problems for them. Pacing guides which specifiy the challenging tasks to be taught, and ongoing dialogue, in-classroom coaching & regular meetings to discuss inquiry-based instruction seem to encourage more teachers to take the risk and see difficult tasks through.

Unresolved Issues:

High stakes testing and teacher and parent doubts about the ability of all students to learn math through inquiry continue to be difficult obstacles we are working through.


Mack McCary, 1/14/1998


Professional Development



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