Slow Math Is … Accountable Talk

How many of your students come to you able to say I can construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others? How do you provide your students the opportunity to practice MP3? It takes time to listen. It takes time to give feedback. It is faster to tell.

In my Qualitative Research class, we watched Big Fish to think about the difference between perspective seekers and truth seekers. We have been talking about the difference between truth and reality.

How do we teach our students to construct a viable argument and critique the reasoning of others? It takes time to distinguish truth from fiction. It takes time to figure out from whose perspective something might be real. It is faster to refute claims without asking why, when, how.

In “Trial Before Pilate” from Jesus Christ Superstar, Pontius Pilate ponders “But what is truth? Is truth unchanging law? We both have truths. Are mine the same as yours?”

How do we teach our students to construct a viable argument and critique the reasoning of others? It takes time to determine the conditions for truth. It is faster to assert a statement as always or never true than figuring out whether and when it is sometimes true.

Dan Meyer, Shira Helft, Juana de Anda, and Fawn Nguyen presented the CMC North keynote in December 2016. I would encourage you to watch the whole talk. If you are a beginning teacher and/or you support beginning teachers, you might be particularly interested in Shira’s part. I am particularly interested in Dan’s question: How do we help people believe fewer lies?

How do we teach our students to construct a viable argument and critique the reasoning of others? It takes time to distinguish fact from fiction. It is faster to press share without checking primary sources.

In Visible Learning for Mathematics, Grades K-12: What Works Best to Optimize Student Learning, Hattie et al. assert the importance of expecting students to engage in accountable talk in our classrooms and emphasizes the role that the teacher plays in ensuring that happens. Teachers must consistently exemplify accountable talk. The authors share examples of Accountable Talk Moves for teachers to relentlessly use in conversation with students, with the expectation that students, too, will assimilate into accountable talk in their conversations with others (2017, p. 144).

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In a Slow Math classroom, we take time for students to learn to construct a viable argument and critique the reasoning of others. Even though it is faster not to.


Possible Resources for Continuing the Conversation:

Hattie, J. (2017). Visible learning for mathematics, grades K-12: what works best to optimize student learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Mathematics.

Interpreting Data: Muddying the Waters

Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds, from the New Yorker, and referenced in Dylan Kane’s blog post On Changing Minds.

Teaching Why Facts Still Matter, included in the January 31 2017 edition of the NBCT Accomplished Teacher by SmartBrief.

For Ed-Tech Company Newsela, ‘Fake News’ a Big Challenge – and Opportunity, included in the February 2  2017 edition of Education Week Digital Directions.

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