Teachers’ work is remarkably complex—in particular when the goal is not just to present facts and formulas for students to memorize, but to Teach for the Robust Understanding of Mathematics. Because of this, there is always room for learning and growth, for every teacher regardless of prior training, years of experience, or current successes. Indeed, ongoing learning is the essence of teaching. Our experience as teachers, coaches, and researchers has been that our most meaningful learning occurs when we interact with others, developing and sustaining relationships that simultaneously challenge and support us. These relationships push us to expand our vision of teaching and learning. They offer perspectives on our work that differ from our own. And they respect our intelligence, skill, and intentions—as well as our need to continually grow. These supportive relationships not only help us to alter our practice but also to deepen our understanding of the complex work we are undertaking. Unfortunately, much of the professional development that we have experienced has focused less on these aspects of learning and more on “experts” sharing “best practices” that we are supposed to simply import to our own classrooms. Here, we have tried to create a professional development tool that builds on what teachers, coaches, and professional learning communities know.
During the Delaware Math Coalition’s TRU-Math MSP project, leaders had the opportunity to collaborate with Dr. Alan Schoenfeld, a key leader whose research inspired the creation of these tools. If you are interested in learning more about the Teaching for a Robust Understanding of Mathematics Framework (and research), we encourage you to visit https://www.map.mathshell.org/trumath.php. For example, you may also find the TRU Math Observation Guide useful in relation to your work with teachers to promote student agency, identity, and teaching for a robust understanding of mathematics in your classrooms