It’s crazy how different teachers teach. Every time I get the opportunity to observe a new teacher, I think it’s awesome how they some how put their own voice into their teaching style. It amazes me because no one teacher is similar to another.
Of the math teachers I observed today, half were very investigation-oriented while the other half was more lecture based. The two that had a more investigative classroom both had their own styles within that. One had students doing everything in groups and circulated as they worked. It was clear that she believed that students work best in groups, interacting and building off each other. She would often stop at one group and work with them, questioning their conjectures, but allowed them to speak their opinions to each other while listening. She would then collect the class and have a group summarize their findings. I found it very encouraging that she facilitated such a discussion with such control.
The other teacher who had a similar classroom had students working in groups also, but led the class more so than the previous. She often brought the class back together and would explain the answer to the class without asking the students. It was clear she thought students worked well in groups also, and would help facilitate their group discussion. For both of these teachers, they used their observations and questioning as formative assessment, which I think is a great check in point to see where students are at.
The other two teachers I observed used worksheets that students followed along with. They didn’t sit in groups like the previous, but discussed as a class often. I thought it was interesting to compare the worksheet vs. non-worksheet methods and the whole class vs. small group discussions. Both seemed effective in each teachers way, and each teacher seemed confident in their style.
My personal opinion is that students learn mathematics better when working in groups and exploring as a team rather than the teacher facilitating most of the class. While this is my opinion, students can learn math in other ways as well so I liked observing other teacher’s inputs.