Many teachers are part of a culture more often characterized by individualism and professional isolation than by collegiality and professional sharing and interaction. Drawing from other countries and cultures – most notably Japan – it is clear that the collegial analysis and critique of teaching is a powerful mechanism for reducing isolation, improving practice, and raising levels of student achievement.
Accordingly, NCTM has created a set of guiding beliefs – aligned with the vision of NCTM’s Principles and Standards for School Mathematics – to frame the design and development of Reflections. We believe
- Reflection entails a detailed analysis of teaching decisions made and their consequences.
- Collegial discussion of this analysis, based on lessons that are observed (in person, on tape, or through a computer), can help lead to new mathematical understandings and teaching insights.
- Teaching is an incredibly complicated endeavor, involving a vast array of decisions, all with implications for learning.
- Analyzing and reflecting on these decisions is one way to make improvement.
- Reflection can be facilitated by a video record and by individual and collegial analysis and discussion of such matters as the mathematics being taught, the mathematical tasks being used, the classroom discourse that occurs, the student learning that ensues, and the teaching decisions that are made.
Reflections is designed to honor these beliefs and to help you improve practice – whether you are a teacher, a prospective teacher, a teacher educator, or a supervisor.