Well, now that we have seen each other,” said the unicorn, “if you’ll believe in me, I’ll believe in you.Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There
Seeing is believing. Teachers’ mental models for mathematics teaching and learning are based in large part on their own experiences as math learners and as math teachers. If we want teachers to facilitate math learning in ways they have not personally experienced, then we must first help teachers visualize what these practices and the learning targets they are designed to achieve look like.
The Math Solutions Instructional Practices Inventory (IPI) is a tool that can help teachers visualize the specific teachers and student behaviors we want to bring to life in our classrooms. The IPI includes four focus areas of mathematics teaching and learning: Learning Environment, Reasoning and Sense Making, Focus and Coherence, and Formative Assessment. Within each of these focus areas, best practice is seen through the lenses of Teacher Indicators and Student Indicators. Teacher Indicators describe specific teacher actions known to promote high levels of student learning. Student Indicators define student behaviors which demonstrate learning is taking place. The IPI is an effective tool for building a common vision of best practice in mathematics classrooms. The Instructional Practices Inventory can be accessed at http://mathsolutions.com/ipi/.
Instructional Practices Inventory as a Coaching Tool:
Serves as a
starting point for building shared understanding of effective math teachingAllows for
focus on specific elements of instructional practice to strengthenProvides a
common standard for best practice across math classrooms|
Math coaches can use the IPI to help teachers vision the instructional practices and elements of student learning we are trying to achieve, as a first step towards internalizing these practices. As coaches facilitate discussions with teachers about these practices coupled with classroom modeling, teachers’ internal vision becomes clearer and sharper. Coaches are instrumental in helping teachers learn to see the instructional practices that constitute a good math classroom and then believe they are capable of implementing these practices.