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RE: math for reproduction and domination (teacher learning)

     good morning, Peg, and everyone  -  yes, i've tracked down Ma's book.  and as chance would have it, on Sunday i ran into the math coach for the school district in which my partner school is located, and asked about Liping Ma, and came to find out that her book was used for a math study group in the middle school a few blocks distant from my partner school.  so, the next step for me is to get up a similar book study group at my partner school, and involve not just my teacher candidates, but other classroom teachers.  there is only one other book study group just now, so there won't be too much competition for time, i hope.

   at the partner school i'm based at we've got a great system of distributed leadership in which intellectual capital is easily shared, and so the difficulty of being a generalist is not so dire, but that's another story.  certainly i share your concerns here.

thanks for the two other resources you've mentioned  -  i'll follow up on them today.
much appreciation,


-----Original Message-----
From: Peg Griffin [mailto:Peg.Griffin@worldnet.att.net]
Sent: Sat 11/13/2004 10:53 AM
To: xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
Subject: Re: math for reproduction and domination (teacher learning)
Hi, Phillip,
You probably already got this from Google, but just in case: Ma, Liping.
1999.  Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics: Teachers' Understanding
of Fundamental Mathematics in China and the United States (Studies in
Mathematical Thinking and Learning).  Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

For what it's worth, I think you and the teacher candidate are in a most
important and most neglected place.  Teacher learning in "generalist" or
"multi-subject" situations and especially beyond the primary grades is
absolutely THE most difficult to do, study, think about, critique, change.
Thinking about mathematics in those situations is one way to pull apart the
charade that we are doing okay and making some sense. The weird dance and
tack-on way that the "quality teacher" stuff in federal law handles it is
another way.

I admire greatly the Strategic Literacy Network that focuses on teaching
beyond the primary grades for literacy and they sometimes come to grips with
the what it is to think about multi-subject compared to departmentalized
contexts.   Probably other folks know some mathematics work that gets at
this issue.  Meanwhile though here's an url for the literacy network:
www.wested.org/stratlit/about/about.shtml  (They are interesting group for
at least a couple of reasons (a) surviving in CA and going further afield in
spite of being shut out by the gatekeepers of funds for professional
development in literacy in CA, (b) determined to do research as well as
practice even though they are not in the hallowed halls of academe.)

There's a far-fetched reference that might do something interesting: It is a
bit of "basic" "experimental" research that may not be  worth anything for
"Monday morning" in a fifth grade classroom but may be a good conversational
piece for you and the teacher candidate.  Maybe it will put the teacher
candidate in the situation  of enriching your understanding and so maybe it
will further your goals regarding who you are in your work together.  The
piece I'm thinking of is: Spelke, E. & Tsivkin, S.  2001.  Language and
number: A bilingual training study. Cognition 57:45-88.   It's meant to
address the topology of the brain/mind people -- but I think worth grappling
with to instigate thinking about how learning and producing in different
language can matter.  I don't know your language background and contemporary
work context, Philipp, but, it may be different enough from your teacher
candidate's to make a joint reading of this a pretty neat experience.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "White, Phillip" <Phillip.White@cudenver.edu>
To: <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
Sent: Friday, November 12, 2004 12:05 PM
Subject: RE: math for reproduction and domination

     Peg, thanks for the questions  -  gives me a place to step back a bit
and reevaluate  -

     yes, i agree about Delpit's statement that one has to teach it first
the right time  -  it's practically a mantra at the elementary in which i'm
the school of education's site professor.

    the teacher candidate is a generalist elementary ed. practitioner  -

    i draw a blank on Ma Liping's work  -  so now i'll do a google.  thanks
for the lead.

     i agree about the difficulties about putting critical frameworks off to
a later date  -  the most specific critical framework i'm working on now
with the teacher candidate from Korea is moving from looking for the right
answer and looking for someone to tell her the concrete steps for what to do
as a teacher, to working with a teaching/learning conceptual framework so
that she is always gathering data so that she can demonstrate what it was
that the students did after she taught a lesson, and the implications as
well as next steps  -  she comes from a system where the teacher's voice is
never contradicted, so my relationship with her as someone who collaborates
with her in a mutual problem solving relationship is involving new identity

however,  i still will pursue in my own head how to make connections with
her about critical social issues.



-----Original Message-----
From: Peg Griffin [mailto:Peg.Griffin@worldnet.att.net]
Sent: Thu 11/11/2004 4:23 PM
To: xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
Subject: Re: math for reproduction and domination

Thanks, Phillip.
In that short note about the class, I got a good sense of the event details
and the cooperative efforts involved.

Teachers' pedagogical content knowledge (here about rational numbers) is
pushed to the limit when they have to struggle with getting the procedural
details in place -- figuring out what's crucial and what's good enough or
okay to handle later.  At the same time, if Lisa Delpit's right then it is
most crucial to do it well in classes like this with so many students who
are "not already a participant in the culture of power."

Since you are talking about 5th grade, I'm not sure if your talking about a
teacher candidate who deals with all the elementary subjects or one who is a
mathematics specialist.

What do you and your colleagues think of Ma Liping's work?

I'm not sure that this first then that later approach you mention at the end
of your note will work, though -- never getting to the later is a problem.