Monday, 10 August 2020

My Theory of Action

 Restate your inquiry question and your theory of action/chain of events (WFRC#11)

My inquiry question for 2020 is:

How can providing opportunities for mathematical vocabulary acquisition strengthen a student’s self-efficacy in maths?

My Theory of Action:

A Chain of Events – Gonzo Opera

As a year 7/8 teacher, I feel that there is often a struggle with our students who do not have the necessary mathematical vocabulary to back the skills that they are acquiring. As a result, students are often at a loss for what to say to describe their mathematical thinking and reluctant to openly share with their peers. We have also noticed that students do considerably better from year to year on easttle tests than they do when taking the PAT Maths test. I wonder if this is due to the open subject matter of the PAT so students know more directly what type of problems they are solving. 

The changes I am making to my teaching to improve their outcomes are still being implemented at this time, especially due to our change in teaching during the Covid-19 lockdown. However, prior to the lockdown, I was using a "Looking Closer" format embedded into my learning tasks that provided students with an opportunity to interact with new grade level appropriate mathematical vocabulary. In the past, students have been primarily taught at the level of curriculum that they were working at. This caused a larger gap to develop with student mathematical vocabulary because students were not using grade level appropriate terminology for mathematical concepts. For example, students often still come into Year 7/8 saying things like "I got the answer 13 from plussing 10 and 3" instead of "I got the answer 13 from adding 10 and 3." 

As we prepare to enter into a more "normal" phase of teaching and learning, I am interested in implementing some of the ideas and concepts discussed on the professional reading that I have recently done in the past few weeks. These include, the Four Square and Feature Analysis approaches (as discussed here).

The reasons why I think these changes in my teaching will be effective to my learners are that they will provide a more solidified understanding of the terms used to describe various mathematical processes and concepts. Students will be provided with a visual reminder of what those words and phrases mean. Students will also be given multiple opportunities to put their new vocabulary to use describing their problem solving process. 

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