Listening to students
At this time of year, children receive gifts as part of several different holiday celebrations. Some of the best gifts my own children ever received were teachers who listened to them, worked to understand what they said, took their ideas seriously, supported them to understand other people's ideas and planned instruction to build on what they knew. This happened during math class and throughout the school day. My children, now young adults, are better people because of these teachers.
I am grateful to all teachers who give children the gift of being listed to and knowing that what they think matters. I am equally grateful to principals, other administrators and teacher educators who support teachers to build their understanding of children’s thinking and develop their skills in listening to children, understanding what children say and using children’s thinking to guide instruction.
Our CGI Professional Development sessions increase teachers’ understanding of research-based frameworks describing children’s mathematical thinking. Teachers who are already dedicated to listening to their students find that these frameworks help them become better listeners because they know what to listen for and how to categorize what a child says into a developmental trajectory. Knowing these frameworks helps teachers put a structure on the information they gain from listening to children and this structure helps them remember what they heard and use this information to guide further interactions with their students.
Linda Levi, Director of the CGI Math Teacher Learning Center