Professional Development a Critical Need for Mathematics Teachers

Professional Development a Critical Need for Mathematics Teachers

By engaging in authentic learning tasks, teachers strengthen their mathematical knowledge as well as their ability to address the learning needs of their students.

With the implementation of the No Child Left Behind legislation, professional development has become one of the most urgent needs of teachers. CRDG’s Mathematics Section has felt the impact of the emphasis on testing in mathematics as schools strive to comply with NCLB guidelines. In response to calls from schools requesting help, 2005 found CRDG faculty working on unique professional development programs throughout the state, each tailored to the specific needs of the schools and complexes that requested their help.

Hokulani School wanted help with standards focused on problem solving, reasoning, and communication. This request resulted in a series of three sessions that engaged teachers in authentic problem solving experiences, with CRDG professional developers modeling best practices in instruction. This approach helped teachers develop awareness of problem solving strategies and to connect those strategies to the NCTM process standards.

Work with teachers at Waimanalo Elementary and Intermediate School involved a series of full-day institutes to support the implementation of their new mathematics program. The goals of the institute were to (1) enhance teachers’ content knowledge in mathematics, (2) model the teaching of problem-solving within mathematics curricula rather than as a separate strand, (3) develop and practice instructional strategies related to communication and other process standards, and (4) provide support and guidance as teachers implement new mathematics learning in their classrooms.

The Mathematics Section’s work on Kauai follows a successful project working with special education teachers that focused on algebraic content appropriate for all students, pedagogical strategies that support high student engagement and interaction, fundamental learning theories from which to build problem-solving abilities and algebraic understandings, and multi-dimensional assessment techniques. The current project, a three-year project funded by a Math Science Partnership grant the Kauai Central area complex received in 2004, seeks to enhance teachers’ content knowledge of mathematics in grades K–6, helping them to develop a repertoire of instructional strategies that promote the implementation of the HCPS in mathematics, and to develop performance assessment tasks and a standards-based instructional plan. In 2004, the content focus was on number and operations; in 2005, the content focus was geometry and measurement.

Participating Schools

Kaumuali‘i Elementary
Wilcox Elementary
Kalāheo Elementary
Waimea Canyon Elementary
‘Ele‘ele Elementary
Kekaha Elementary
Kamakahelei Middle

Hōkūlani Elementary
Waimānalo Elementary and