Identifying Your Problem of Practice

  • Identifying Your Problem of Practice

    The Innov8 experience is designed to support teachers and teams in identifying, analyzing, and planning for instruction and intervention around a self-identified problem of practice related to learners who struggle in mathematics. Before the conference, it's important to think about your own challenges and problems of practice to help guide your conference experience.

    Think about a professional or pedagogical challenge that your team/school is facing related to learners who struggle in mathematics. The challenge your team wants to work on may be directly related to or support a school-wide improvement goal or the work of a Professional Learning Community or be driven by school data. Part of the work your team does at this conference will involve unpacking the challenge to better understand what root issue is causing the challenge, what factors can be influenced through instruction, and what steps your team can take toward supporting students impacted by the challenge. Here are some examples of challenges teachers of mathematics may be facing:

    • Our students seem overly reliant on memorization and frequently make errors in calculations. It seems like they do not really know why procedures work or when they should be applied. They do not recognize when their solutions don’t make sense in the context of the problem.

    • We believe that our teachers are committed to teaching mathematics and could benefit from increased mathematics content knowledge. We feel they know their own grade level content well, but need additional support knowing what happens before and after their grade level. Teachers report that this additional knowledge would really help them differentiate for the variety of learners in their classroom.

    • Our students and teachers struggle with productive struggle. We need help understanding how to build lessons that provide opportunities for students to struggle productively. We worry that they will become frustrated and notice that we simplify the tasks and lessons too quickly. We think that rescuing students shows we care - but we are finding that students then are not working independently.

    • Many of our students appear disinterested in mathematics class. What can teachers do to increase interest and participation? What can teachers do to engage and inspire their students? How can teachers promote student engagement in mathematics class? How can mathematics be a subject they look forward to and enjoy?

    • Many of our teachers would like to increase their teaching repertoire. Having students sit quietly at their desks completing worksheets or memorizing math facts is no longer viewed as the only or best way to teach mathematics. Digital tools are giving teachers the opportunity to optimize their students’ learning and to move away from teacher-centered classrooms. What resources can teachers use to learn how to implement these new ways of teaching?

    • We are tasked with implementing a set of interventions for a multi-tiered system of support, but we aren’t sure of what we should include or how to monitor students’ progress. Computation worksheets and generic computer programs have not worked as interventions. What are other options?