Getting Buy-in from More Experienced Teachers
In a recent fourth grade math leaders meeting at my district office, our math coach was advocating for increased use of teaching concepts through task rather than over scaffolding and “hand-holding.” Several of our more experienced teachers scoffed at the idea and wanted to remain doing things their way. One of these teachers has been advocating the “turtle method” for multi-digit multiplication (Google it, it’s terrible). She beemed with pride, stating that all of her students “know how to do it.”
Well, I tutored one of her students this past summer and while she knew the procedure, she had no idea why it worked. She told me she didn’t understand math and didn’t like it, but knew how to get the answer. I spent an afternoon with that student, making connections to an area model, using partial products and the distributive property. By the end of our few summer weeks together, she let me know she wanted to be a math teacher!
How should I (in my fourth year of teaching) go about assisting other, more epxerienced teachers, come around to the importance of building conceptual understanding before going near an algorithm?