“So, my long-term studies of students learning in high schools involved students in IMP classrooms.
The students who went through IMP were sooo different than the kids who went through the traditional approach! They were confident and they had a belief that they could see any math problem and solve it. So, they had a really different approach to math and had different ideas about what math was.
I love the idea of giving the students a big problem which they can’t solve and then having them work towards a solution. Certainly, in all of the classes that we worked in and watched, and researched, we found great engagement and mathematical thinking. So yes, I’m a big fan.” — Jo Boaler (@JoBoaler)
These are challenging times to be a math teacher. With the flurry of political debates and protests surrounding testing, the implementation of common core, and figuring out which math curriculum will best prepare our students for 21st century jobs where problem-solving will be key, teachers have their hands full (and many are overwhelmed).
It’s no wonder Jo Boaler has become a hero of sorts to math teachers around the world. As a math educator herself, and a passionate, life-long education reformer, Boaler understands the plight of today’s math teacher better than just about anyone — and she speaks to this struggle with bold solutions that truly resonate with educators (through her books, her workshops, and at live speaking engagements like this year’s NCSM conference — Sparking a Math Revolution: Jo Boaler Ignites #NCSM15 with Her Keynote).
But when it comes down to it, the most important thing to educators and parents is not only whether students are learning math, but whether they are truly embracing it. High test scores are great, but a core understanding of math concepts that become embedded in the students’ thought process, which they’ll be able to tap into throughout their lifetime of solving problems, is even more important.
In a recent article for The Hechinger Report (Memorizers are the lowest achievers and other Common Core math surprises), Boaler expertly explains how teachers can help students conquer their math demons:
“Real mathematics is about inquiry, communication, connections, and visual ideas. We don’t need students to calculate quickly in math. We need students who can ask good questions, map out pathways, reason about complex solutions, set up models, and communicate in different forms…All of these ways of working are encouraged by the Common Core… This broad, multidimensional mathematics is the math that engages many more learners and puts them on a pathway to life-long success.“
At it’s core, this is what Interactive Mathematics Program (IMP) does.
In the video above, Boaler mentions IMP’s inquiry-based approach as being one of the key reasons why she highly recommends the curriculum. Coming from internationally renowned Bowler, who has literally written books on math curricula and learning across the world, this is high praise indeed.
Meanwhile, math teachers like Teri Owens, who has been documenting her experience implementing IMP this year (Teri Owens: Using Technology to Bust The Ghosts of Traditional Math Curriculum), and her students’ phenomenal success with IMP (End-of-Year Teacher Reflections on IMP Meaningful Math Algebra), are embracing this new, inquiry-based way of teaching math based (real life problem-solving, not rote memorization).
If you haven’t read Jo Boaler’s latest book (What’s Math Got to Do with It?: How Teachers and Parents Can Transform Mathematics Learning and Inspire Success), then definitely pick it up and get ready to be inspired!
To learn more about why and how IMP works, check out this roundup of informative and inspiring blog posts HERE. And take a peak at a few IMP classrooms, and listen to teachers share their experiences with the curriculum in these great videos.
Have questions? Great (we love questions!). Reach out to David Birchler (Program Coordinator for Mathematics at IAT): Email – firstname.lastname@example.org Tel – 914-273-2233.
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