- Year 2023
- NSF Noyce Award # 1950222
- First Name Lillie
- Last Name Albert
- Discipline Mathematics
Chi-Keung Cheung, Juliana Belding, and Solomon Friedberg, Boston College; Matthew McLeod, EDC
This project aims to serve national need for a greater number of outstanding mathematics teacher leaders in high-need schools. The students in these schools are less likely to become part of the nation’s future STEM workforce. Thus, increasing the quality of mathematics teaching is a critical need for broadening participation in STEM and increasing the nation’s competitiveness in the global economy.
The three guiding questions for this project are: 1) How to provide mathematics teachers with opportunities to continuously develop their mathematical expertise and content knowledge through interactions with mathematics professionals? 2) How to provide mathematics teacher-leaders with practical tools to promote equitable pedagogy and outcomes in diverse classrooms? 3) How to support experienced teachers in acquiring leadership skills and pursuing leadership opportunities, so that they become highly qualified instructional leaders and mentors?
All participants had an opportunity to deeply engage in authentic mathematical experiences as part of a linked professional community made up of mathematicians, teacher educators, teachers, and students through professional development for this project. These opportunities included taking part in the following activities:
1. Monthly Mathematical Practice Seminar – Master teaching fellows (MTFs) took part in regular seminars designed for teachers in high-need schools that prioritize equitable pedagogy. During the seminar, the teachers will have the opportunities to do math, present and exchange ideas on the pedagogical techniques they use to ensure equal access to mathematics learning and to advance mathematical comprehension. 2. Summer Equity, Mentoring and Leadership Institute – The 4- day summer workshop will immerse teachers in practical tools, theoretical perspectives and inquiry practices that will inform their work throughout the school year. The institute had multiple goals: i) support MTFs in developing an Action Plan to address an issue in their classroom teaching, to be carried out through the year, ii) develop an equity pedagogy lens through readings and discussion prompts related to pertinent topics such as “filling skill gaps”, homework expectations, and others, iii) provide MTFs extended time to investigate mathematics topics connected to the classroom, 4) provide time to reflect on mathematical practices and the human/social aspect of doing mathematics as they relate to equity. 3. Mentorship – The Noyce Master Teachers alumni and the Mathematics Faculty provided useful mentoring techniques, classroom visit or video observations, and helping MTFs with introspection over the challenges of forging a mentoring relationship with a beginning teacher at the school level. 4. Graduate Coursework – MTFs enrolled in one pre-approved graduate course at Boston College each year to strengthen their knowledge of mathematics content and pedagogy in a targeted fashion. 5. Mathematics Education Colloquium Series – MTFs attended talks by renowned mathematicians and math educators who are concerned with mathematics education for justice and equity. Through this colloquium series, the audience learned about the most current research and equitable instructional approaches in mathematics education.
We are now in the third year of the program and have experienced several noteworthy successes. The Master Teaching Fellows (MTFs) have shared with us that they found the small group meetings, where they discuss and share equity-based lesson plans, to be highly beneficial and practical. Additionally, through the Mathematics Education Colloquium Series and practice seminars, we have been able to coordinate, sustain, and expand a high-quality professional community that includes mathematicians, mathematics educators, teachers, and math graduate students in the greater Boston area.
The collaboration of professional development options and support to solve the severe scarcity of qualified mathematics teachers in schools with high needs is exemplified by this project, which serves as a model for institutions and organizations. This project has encouraged the construction of a network of educators in mathematics who support one another in the greater Boston area as well as the development of mathematically proficient high school teachers.