Teachers and students learning together is one of the benefits of an eight day professional learning program for teachers that shows them new ways to approach math along with students from kindergarten through eighth grade.
Every summer, Gwinnett Public Schools hosts a Math Institute. For a week, the district trained master and cluster trainers on research based methods, and giving them the opportunity to bring it to other teachers. Students coach them along the way.
For 12 years, Catherine Smith has helped facilitate the program. She says it is one of the best teacher training programs anywhere. Students are chosen to be invited to attend the program, representing a range of abilities.
“We just model how to do so here, and these are things teachers can take back based on the content that they’re learning and make application in their classroom,” Smith said. “It’s an opportunity for the teachers to hone in on a couple of students, to really engage the students.”
Each year, there is a different mathematical concept in focus. Last year it was fractions. This year it is on algebra. Techniques focus on how to get students to understand the problem, not just perform calculations.