Blog Entry #3

1) What/how you are learning about inquiry in this course (through your readings, our class activities, lesson planning, and lesson teaching)

As this class progresses I am now starting to see what Kathy is trying to show us through the readings she gives, the activities she plans and the lessons she has us plan. She wants us to experience first hand on how both the teacher and the student feel when learning through inquiry. As a teacher I have felt both frustrated and excited as I try to learn how to teach inquiry-based learning. I can relate my frustration to how Brea first felt about inquiry-based learning. She was willing to use it and change up her mathematics classroom, but felt as though she did not know it enough to fully implement it within her classroom consistently. As I become more familiar with inquiry-based learning I sometimes get caught up on how I was taught and I struggle to wrap my mind around on how to teach without being the main focus (not that I like being the main focus). However, after I taught my first inquiry-based lesson I became excited with the fact that I could do it, it was not as impossible as I thought it had first seemed to be. I also seen that working as a facilitator was more fun than just being a lecturer because I got to see how students work through a problem to come up with a solution. Maybe one downfall to inquiry-based learning is the amount of planning it takes to come up with just one lesson. The time and effort that my partner and I put into our lesson was rewarding in the end, but while planning, the end seemed so far away. Being a student in the activities that I have took part in has made me realize why this type of learning is being pushed —it is fun! It also allowed me as a student to give reasons and justifications fro why something worked, rather than just plugging in a formula. I really appreciate the fact that I have been able to experience inquiry-based learning both as a teacher and as a student because that does not happen often with many instructional strategies.

2) How/if the ideas in the article challenge or affirm your beliefs about mathematics teaching & learning (as described in your blog entry 2 creed).

In my mathematics creed my five statements were focused mainly on my students and how I think they should view mathematics, but I only mentioned actual teaching methods in my first one. However, I was not as specific to say that by teaching new methods in mathematics will require me as teacher to challenge my personal views of how mathematics should be taught. What I am used to is the more lecture style of teaching, knowing that most teachers go back to the way they were taught when they were a student. After reading this article I now realize that it is quite important in my career to challenge myself in how I teach and be willing to change my teaching methods for the benefits of my students. As the article says, “teachers could orchestrate their own change if they are helped to develop a ‘‘stance’’ of looking at their own practice by analyzing, adapting, and always challenging their assumptions, in a self-sustaining cycle of reflecting on their own theory and practice, learning from one problem to inform the next problem” (447). If I start to become critical of my own beliefs and teaching methods, I truly think that will only have a positive benefit on my students and I. If we as teachers expect our students to learn in ways they are not comfortable with (because no student learns the same way) then we should be experiencing our own discomfort in trying to accommodate all our students diverse needs. But changing is one thing, as a teacher I also need to believe that the change I am willing to take will benefit all parties that are involved. Chapman puts it nicely when she says “It requires not only a desire by the teacher to change but also the belief that alternatives that are more beneficial are possible” (456).

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