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Sharma: Get Results

                                                             ©1995-2008  Mahesh C. Sharma  All rights reserved.

To improve student achievement in mathematics, one crucial place to focus on is the classroom. Each mathematics classroom has to be results-oriented. In a results-oriented mathematics classroom, students think mathematically and are truly interested in mathematics, therefore, they achieve.  

Effective teachers create effective classrooms and thereby improve student achievement. It is an awesome responsibility for the teacher.  No true teacher takes this responsibility lightly. A classroom is the arena of her action, the stage for the demonstration of her art and craft.  The classroom is not only an autonomous learning community, but also a part of a larger learning community called “school.”

The classroom is the place where transformations take place. This is the place where students and teachers grow together through daily lessons. An effective teacher deliberately uses daily lessons to actively connect with her students. Through daily lessons, an effective teacher manifests and demonstrates the school’s mission, principles and expectations, as well as her own philosophy and belief systems, her academic standards and expectations, and, most importantly, exemplifies her pedagogy.  

To have a results-oriented mathematics classroom, we need to have some key ingredients:structural and pedagogical

Key Structural Ingredients: 
þ  A mathematics lesson is at least one hour long. 
þ  We teach mathematics each day of the week. 
þ  Each lesson has definite goals. 
þ  Most of the lesson is a whole-class activity with attention paid to individual student. 
þ Teacher assigns homework everyday of the week.  
þ The homework is well planned. 
þ  Assessment is embedded in the lesson.  
þ The teacher implements written assessments when a collection of topics, concepts, and procedures are completed. 
þ There are regular and multiple forms of assessments including informal assessments at concrete and oral levels. 
þ  These are necessary conditions; they are not sufficient.

Key Pedagogical Ingredients 
are more difficult to achieve in the classroom. Sound pedagogy means quality lessons. Through well-planned and well-executed lessons, a teacher makes quality a reality. Pedagogical elements: 
þ  Each unit of a mathematics lesson has clear objectives: the concepts, skills, language, procedures, and level and form of mastery. 
þ  The purpose of each lesson is to consolidate previous learning, introduce new concepts, make connections, and help students become independent learners of mathematics.
þ  The goal of each mathematics lesson is to help students to think mathematically, to look for patterns, discover ideas, and apply skills. Then and only then, do students acquire understanding of concepts and achieve mastery in skills and procedures.  
þ  In a results-oriented math classroom, students are engaged in true mathematics learning.  In such a classroom, several vital components are involved simultaneously. They include:
þ  A display of variety of cognitive strategies, 
þ  Presence of diverse prerequisite skills for mathematics concepts, 
þ  Respect for a range of mathematics learning personalities, 
þ  Interplay of rich language (both native and mathematical), and 
þ  Integration of key mathematics milestones involved. 

The results of this type of instruction can be seen in the development of:
þ  Cognitive and mathematics content, 
þ  Affective and emotional security,  
þ  Mathematical way of thinking, and 
þ  Mathematics competence and mastery. 

A classroom with these outcomes is result-oriented.  In result-oriented mathematics classrooms, the students exhibit mathematics competence and show interest for mathematics.  

Author Contact Information:
Mahesh C. Sharma

508-877-4089 (H) | 508-494-4608 (C)

Center for Teaching/Learning of Mathematics, Inc. 

754 Old Connecticut Path, Framingham, MA 01701 
508 494 4608 (T); 508 788 3600 (F).

©1995-2008  Mahesh C. Sharma  All rights reserved.