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5.1.4 Reflecting on Practice

Math Content:

The teacher reflects on her own mathematical learning that occurs as a result of using activities like this game with her 5th-grade students.

Click on the Exploration tab to view the activity.
Click on the Exploration tab to view the activity.

Video Segment  

Watch the video clip below, in which the teacher reflects on her own mathematical learning that resulted from using activities like the Fraction Tracks game with her students. In what ways is the teacher's mathematical understanding growing?

----- Transcript Begins ------
Teacher:  My math skills have grown tremendously from teaching math differently to my students, because I get right involved in the investigations with them and I have doubled what I knew.  I never considered myself this great mathematician and I still at points find, ooh, fractions, but as I work with my students and I see how you can manipulate the information very differently than standing there and just teaching, you know, an equivalent fraction is this. Once you get to that deeper meaning, deeper understanding, it makes more sense.
------ Transcript Ends   -----  


Effective teaching involves observing students, listening carefully to their ideas and explanations, and using the information to make instructional decisions. Through their teaching, teachers can also continue to deepen their understanding of the mathematics they teach, by learning with and from their students and then reflecting on that learning. The ability to reflect on and refine mathematical understanding as well as instructional practice is essential to achieving the vision of school mathematics outlined in Principles and Standards for School Mathematics. Additional discussion of these ideas can be found in the Teaching Principle.

Take Time to Reflect

  • How do pedagogical decisions about the choice of tasks influence what a teacher can learn with and from his or her students?
  • How can teachers support one another in continually strengthening their understanding of the mathematical content they teach?

Video Credit 

WGBH, Boston. "Fraction Tracks." In Teaching Math: A Video Library, 5–8. Funded and distributed by the Annenberg/CPB Math and Science Project, P.O. Box 2345, S. Burlington, VT 05407-2345, 1-800-LEARNER.