Sunday, 4 March 2018

Teaching Inquiry 2018 - Talk Moves

I had originally intended to use this inquiry opportunity to examine how I could better teach my students the fundamentals for writing. This was based on my personal reflection that in 2018 I needed to improve how I taught this subject area.

However, after listening to the presentation by Woolf Fisher researchers at Tamaki College, I needed to change my plan. The 2017 results for students achievement across schools in the Manaiakalani cluster clearly showed that Maths was a bigger concern than Writing.

This realisation prompted me to check the data for my Maths class for this year. Based on National Standards benchmarks, only 2 students had achieved 'at' by the end of 2017, the remaining 27 students were sitting at either 'below' or 'well below'.

I wanted to focus on the band of students who are noted as 'below' in Maths. WIth the right intervention, there is a better chance of achieving upaward shift in 'below' learners than those who are 'well below'.  I then identified a group who I can best describe as being in Maths learning limbo - by this I mean that while they show capability in Maths they are stuck and not progressing because  I have not been able to move them to the up to the next level.  

Within this group I have identified six priority learners - all Year 8 students who achieved Stage 6 at the end of 2017. NB: Ideally they should have been hitting Stage 7. 

My hunch is that the progress of this group of Maths learners is being held back because they struggle to understand and then correctly apply higher level strategies. 

Building on Maths PD last year with Jo Knox,  PES is rolling out the DMIC (Developing Mathematical Inquiry Communities) approach of teaching maths across the entire school i.e. from Year 1 to Year 8. Based on comprehensive research in the US around complex maths instruction, Prof. Bobbi Hunter of Massey University has developed a pedagogy that aims to deepen students understanding of maths - working in mixed ability groups to collectively solve maths problems.

The challenge will be to find out how to best to use the DMIC pedagogy to build confidence in priority learners so they are more likely to take risks to grapple with more complex problems - the payoff being they will develop their maths thinking and problem solving skills and progress to more complex maths work.

The DMIC teaching approach uses maths problems rooted in the real world problems in cultural contexts that are relevant and engaging for students and related to 'big' maths ideas.

For my inquiry then, as an initial starting point, I would like to investigate how the use of TALK MOVES can support my priority students to improve their understanding and make use of higher level Maths concepts.

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