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Eric.ed.gov – One Instructor’s Quest for a Collaborative Professional Culture

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With a B.S. in math but no prior math education training, the author’s first job as a math teacher was at an alternative charter school with a holistic mission. The author struggled tremendously and no doubt left numerous opponents to math reform in his wake. Fortunately, he attributed his ineffectiveness to his lack of experience and skill as a facilitator and curriculum writer, not to a flaw in the vision. Though he has no way of knowing, he has since wondered what percentage of new educators in similar situations would draw a different conclusion, something like, “Math is different from other subjects. It can’t be learned collaboratively. You just have to memorize.” This experience motivated him to understand why and how math teachers can become effective in settings that stress understanding over memorization. After his first teaching experience, the author decided to opt out of the “sink or swim” model of professional development offered by so many of the new small schools sprouting up across the nation. Later on, he and his colleague Jason Cushner created the Math Innovators’ Forum. The Forum’s purpose is threefold: (1) improve the collective practice of math education in alternative schools; (2) support new instructors in the Herculean task of being a new math instructor in an alternative school; and (3) to advocate for their agenda of improving math instruction in their schools. For two years, he and Jason have worked to connect math educators with one another in small alternative schools in the belief that such work improves their practice and is desperately needed. The experiences of isolation relieved by collaboration have led the author to a few insights about his practice as a math educator and math education in small, personalized, and student-focused schools.

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Troels Gannerup Christensen

Jeg er ansat som adjunkt hos Læreruddannelsen i Jelling, hvor jeg underviser i matematik, specialiseringsmodulet teknologiforståelse, praktik m.m. Jeg har tidligere været ansat som pædagogisk konsulent i matematik og tysk hos UCL ved Center for Undervisningsmidler (CFU) i Vejle og lærer i udskolingen (7.-9. klasse) på Lyshøjskolen i Kolding. Jeg er ejer af og driver bl.a. hjemmesiderne www.lærklokken.dk og www.iundervisning.dk, ggbkursus.dk og er tidligere fagredaktør på matematik på emu.dk. Jeg går ind for, at læring skal være let tilgængelig og i størst mulig omfang gratis at benytte.

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