Hey, teachers…let’s keep it fresh! Yep, I’m bringing it way back in this post! Ok, so it might not be a phrase you want to use in your 6th grade classroom, but don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Math teachers need to keep things fresh in their classrooms. There is so much research out there about the importance of keeping our classrooms moving, literally. Like most theories, it sounds simple enough, but putting it into practice can be tough. Since day one of returning for my teaching license I’ve been told that we have to be very purposeful about our teaching. We teach the way we are taught. The way I was taught is a far cry from the way I want to teach. Let’s take a peek at 2 very different teaching styles.
A little Ferris, anyone?
Ferris style teaching
Traditional math teaching, or as I like to think of it, Ferris style, is where the teacher stands in the front of the classroom and spews information at students, who are expected to soak it up and cough it out on the next test. We can all get a giggle out of the Ferris clip because we have all been there, but you can bet that we weren’t laughing in the moment. Rote memorization of math facts might have their place in the classroom, but if students do not grasp the concept, you can be sure the information won’t stick. The video emphasizes the lack of student engagement, I couldn’t even focus for the 90 second clip.
Finland style teaching
Finland is known for their educational system. Teachers are well payed and respected, students are top performers, school days are shorter and class sizes are smaller. Add that with their keen ability to get students working in teams and sharing their learning and you hold the key to success, well, part of it anyway. Did you notice how the students were doing real work? They were up, moving through the school, collecting data and analyzing it. They prepared their results and presented it to their colleagues. The team based, cooperative learning style got students engaged in real life math activities; activities that took the math off their papers and into their communities.
Let’s take a lesson or 2 from Finland. Let’s get students moving. Let’s get students engaged. Let’s keep things fresh.
A giggle, if you have time…