The Inspiration for my Research
Since entering into the realm of mathematics teaching, I knew I was entering into a subject that children and adults all seemed to agree on their dislike about. I had no idea how to approach teaching mathematics at a middle school level but I was determined not to teach the way I had been taught. I had learned in school that there was only ever one acceptable way of solving a math problem. I would often get in trouble for finding the way that work best for me. I never wanted to be the teacher who only allowed one way of solving something. I began consuming everything I could to help me figure out how to do this.
My classroom consisted of students seated in groups of four. Every chance I would get, I would have them converse and work with each other. Groups worked together on tasks, brainstormed responses to questions posed, and helped each other when one was stuck. As the teacher, I often acted as more of a guide or coach than a leader. I wanted students to do take on the mental load of the task. I rarely would answer a question with an answer, and instead who respond with a question in order to help them learn how to work through their struggles. Sometimes these questions were used as a way to guide students into a particular direction as well. Often, this infuriated them (and most often the accelerated students), but eventually they learned how to think through many of the road blocks they encountered and learn to also respect and ask their fellow classmates when they needed support.
Link to my Master's Blog