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Changing the Landscape of Math and Science Teaching

In the News | April 9, 2018

MƒA President John Ewing joined host Drew Perkins on the TeachThought podcast to talk about how MƒA supports mathematics and science teachers in the profession. Ewing and Perkins also explored why mathematics is important in everyday life and dove deep into what mathematics teaching and learning could and should look like.  

Ewing shares: “Teachers join this MƒA community that is incredibly active. It’s a scholarly community of teachers that has workshops and mini-courses and PLTs… and the most important things about their interaction in this community is they get to choose entirely what they want to do in their professional growth and that the majority of these opportunities are created and run by the teachers themselves.”

“We’re looking for teachers who really know the content they teach. We want teachers to know the craft of teaching. Teachers should also know their students – knowing who they are, what their needs are, and how they can reach them. These three things – knowledge of content, pedagogy, students – are the foundation of what makes a great teacher.”

As a lifelong mathematician, Ewing keenly shared his thoughts on the value of mathematics - that it helps people understand the world better.

Ewing adds: “If you think of math as a bunch of rules and procedures, then maybe you can say it’s not connected very well to the rest of life. Worst, if you learn math this way in school I can almost guarantee in a few years you will have forgotten everything… but that’s not what mathematics is or is supposed to be. Mathematics is a way of thinking.”

“Learning mathematics should be learning understanding. Of course, you need to multiply and add and other basic things, but it’s really understanding what you’re learning. When you view it this way, it becomes very clear that math plays a role in everyday life for every one of us.”

During the more than hour-long interview, Ewing offered his input on everything from whether mathematics is viewed as an obstacle to graduation to how great teachers are fundamental to the future of the profession.

“MƒA changes what teaching feels like for teachers… If we had programs like MƒA around the country, that focused on the most accomplished teachers and used them as models to show what the teaching profession could really look like – exciting, scholarly, attractive, respected – I think we could change the way the nation thought about teachers and teaching.”

Listen to the full episode here.

Find the episode on iTunes here.

The episode is also available on Stitcher, Podbean, PodcastLand, Google Music, and YouTube.