– poor professional development

– role of direct instruction (necessary but not sufficient)

– need to learn key skills and concepts in order to apply to new situations ]]>

I agree with you that the Ontario elementary mathematics curriculum needs to have some additions, deletions, and some rewrites to make expectations clearer for teachers. I agree that by grade 3 and 4, there should be expectations that students develop good working knowledge of multiplication facts and strategies for figuring out when they forget a fact. As for fraction operations, by grade 7 I think students should be adding fractions using common denominators: – I used manipulatives and/or diagrams only to illustrate what was happening to help with understanding.

The BC situation sounds quite dire. I hope things improve. ]]>

A link to an excellent, oft-referenced article the conclusion of which strongly supports considering well- done guided inquiry as an effective instructional approach. ]]>

Follow up to workshops has been increasingly pushed onto teachers who attended, with often little engagement and support from administration, although that is not always the case by any means. For example, I and 6 of my Intermediate and Junior grade colleagues were once sent by our board to a full day workshop but Robert Marzano. I was thrilled because I thought finally, after 20 years of silently using his and his colleagues huge volume of research into instructional approaches that work, along with ways to analyze curriculum , determine learning goals, and select instructional approaches to suit each category, my school board was going to promote something useful board wide. After an exciting day, I returned to school to never hear another word about any of it. An incredible waste of money to say the least.

Last year, about 7 years after the workshop and 4 years into retirement, I was chatting with an admin who excitedly said, “Have you heard of Marzano’s stuff.” I have no words left to describe my frustration.

That being said, I could share several rebuttals to the ” only direct instruction works, ” bit, and the claim ” don’t have kids discover what you can teach them directly.” But instead, I will simply say one more time, that a lot of the good research you speak of suggests you need different approaches for different learning goals.

For example, if I want to address the curriculum expectations that say that students are to analyze, compare, predict, etc when working with content, I will teach those skills directly ahead of time. It would make no sense not to!

Then, I will ask them to practise those skills while investigating, exploring, etc. with new content. The goal I have then is different; I now want them to practise/ apply the skills I have taught them to look at and explore new content, as I guide them with prompts and scaffolds. Afterwards, my goal then becomes having them understand the content,and I will discuss findings and directly teach the facts, concepts, relationships etc that came out of the inquiry/ investigation practice. ]]>

It’s not about the teachers. This is about ineffective, weak curricula, which then allows for convoluted teaching strategies, and terrible resources meant to fail our kids, AND our teachers. In BC the Ministry, in conjunction with the teacher’s Union, has decided that teachers are now responsible for their own resources under “teacher autonomy”. The curriculum guidelines state that memorization of facts is not expected in both Gr.3 and Gr.4. There are no set goals for ANY mastery of basic math facts at the elementary level. Adding/subtracting fractions doesn’t happen until Gr.8 under the new revamp. Textbooks aren’t used unless they’re already in classrooms; Ministry isn’t providing them anymore. As for resources? The BCTF established this one https://teachbcdb.bctf.ca/list?q=math&p=1&ps=25. #1 on the list is using kittens and puppies created by the BCSPCA … how much research went into THAT?

It’s deplorable and the SYSTEM is to blame. Not the teachers.

]]>“edubabble at it`s best” ]]>