A new style of teaching is showing that conversations about math lead to deeper understanding of the subject among students.
At Pittsburg High School in Kansas, students are benefiting from a style which emphasizes collaboration and application, rather than lectures and memorization.
PHS Principal Phil Bressler and math teacher Rhonda Willis recently informed the school board of the progress that has been made with the new style. According to Bressler, a former math teacher, the change is not in the curriculum but in the delivery to the students.
“Traditionally, there are those kids sitting in the room that are unengaged, but present,” he said. “This delivery method requires every student to be engaged on a daily basis — they can’t sit there and not engage.”
“What we are trying to do is get kids to be thinkers,” Willis said.
Willis realized that math instruction needed to change when she was part of the 2017 review committee of math standards.
“Being part of that, it really brought to my attention how much math in Kansas needs to change,” she said. She and other teachers looked at brain research, and the “growth mindset” involved in math. They also had training over the summer where they adapted their ways of teaching math to suit the new style.