Serious Collaboration




what if we throw out everything we have?

what if we try putting all 54 students together and create missions for them?

what if we go shoot pool?

… These were some of the statements during our collaborative planning meeting today. We are working on updating the grade 12 Vectors unit and are all itching to try something new. Less (or no?) direct instruction, less (or no?) note-taking. More group activities, more outside the classroom, more facilitating and less ‘teaching’.

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My action plan is currently on its third iteration for this year. I’ve had so many avenues I want to pursue and I think it’s time to be honest with myself: this is the stuff that I get excited about. Clubs are great, nuts-and-bolts are practical, but finding ways to make Mathematics come alive — this is what I DO all day long, and it’s where my action plan has come to rest this year.

Last year one of my professional goals was to get away from direct instruction, and the students and I both found it liberating once I worked more to facilitate their learning rather than to teach them knowledge. A natural consequence has been that I am on the hunt for more inquiry-based activities to support this approach. I am very lucky to work in a department with fantastic colleagues who are keen to try new methods, and are highly engaged in the process. Collaborating with them on this updated Vectors unit is certain to be one of the highlights of my school year, and I look forward to posting some progress on our vision and its implementation as we move forward!


PS. Composing this post reminded me of a delightful conversation I had last year with a Computer Science professor from a local university, and I wanted to share it with you here:

Professor: “You’re a teacher? Ah yes, well. Those who can’t do, teach.

Me: “Oh, I think you misunderstand. That is what I do. I teach.

2 Replies to “Serious Collaboration”

  1. Great post Erin! Sounds like your department and the layout of your day make for a super collaborative and progressive working environment, something we can definitely look to do more of here.

    Third iteration of your action plan! That’s the beauty of our job is that we’re never done, we’re constantly tinkering and trying to make learning better for our students. I think @trollwag can bring some of these ideas to our Math Dept, and get them jazzed about inquiry based learning!

    Thanks for sharing – looking forward to reconnecting at MaRS!

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