From the editor
What do we mean by ‘teacher enquiry’?
Some of you may be undertaking, or be planning to undertake, an action research project on a particular theme, such as the ways in which you draw on the mathematical understanding that learners bring to your classroom, or how you encourage learners to take risks. You may have been inspired by summaries, in the Research Bulletins, of what other teachers have done, observed and concluded.
But every teacher can engage in enquiry about what they and their learners are doing from day to day in their lessons. In fact, it might be argued that an essential aspect of effective teaching is on-going enquiry into how we are teaching and how learning is resulting from what we are doing.
As a new editor of this magazine for a while, I hope that contributions to this magazine will reflect, and sometimes specifically focus on, our enquiries. I am hoping that some of you will write about your classroom experiences, such as how a learner surprised you, how a rich discussion developed, how you learned something from an incident, how you noticed a learner becoming more independent, how a lesson went an unexpected way, or about a problem and how you overcame it.
It would be good to focus on particular achievements; to read, for example, about one way in which you exposed a misconception, or created a connection between topics, or promoted mathematical thinking by asking a question.
What unusual or interesting examples have your learners created? Have your students come up with some conjectures or questions that they have not yet explored?
I remember a time when I believed that everything always went ‘swimmingly’ in every mathematics teachers’ classroom except mine. But when I led my own department and we were frequently in and out of each others’ lessons that idea soon evaporated! Although we can’t all visit each others’ lessons, we can ‘tell’ each other about them – we can describe, and learn from, things of all kinds that happen in our lessons.
It would be interesting to read about the different ways in which different teachers have used a particular resource, or introduced a particular topic. Or perhaps you might invite your students to write, or talk to you, about something that they discovered themselves, or something that they don’t understand, or why they enjoyed, or didn’t enjoy, a particular lesson.
Teacher enquiry and sharing experiences are at the heart of the NCETM. So please talk and write to us about what you and your students are doing.