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Bridging The Teaching Gap

This week's suggested resource differs from past suggestions......in that it does not deal specifically with mathematics. Rather, it applies directly to issues surrounding the teaching of mathematics.

Please read James Stigler & James Hiebert's The Teaching Gap: Best Ideas From the World's Teachers for Improving Education in the Classroom (1999). Note that the book is not recent....just shows how far behind I am in some of my reading. People kept recommending this book to me, and now I get the chance to do the same.

Based on TIMSS conclusions (i.e. Third International Mathematics and Science Study), this new book addresses the success and failure of reform efforts of mathematics education in the United States. The authors approach is form comparisons using mathematics teaching practices in Japan and Germany. A major focus is the limited pedagogical methods and skills of American mathematics teachers, entrenched in a system that has no viable strategies for improvement or change.

In the text, the authors build a model for restructuring schools in a way that focuses on helping teachers improve (viz collaborative lesson study) and thus directly change how American students learn mathematics.

The book is a must read for those responsible for the professional development of teachers, but also should be of interest (and value) to anyone teaching mathematics. It will prompt reflection!