We Need YOU!

The weeks after the NCTM Annual Meeting and Exposition are usually a time of personal professional reflection and consideration about the future direction of the organization itself.

During Congressional recess, Senators and Representatives go back to their communities and hold town halls to hear the issues that are important to their constituents.

In Tracy Zager‘s recent blog post reflecting on her own experience at the NCTM conference, she says the following [emphasis added]:

From where I sit, the merger with The Math Forum, the emphasis on #MTBoS representation on all NCTM committees, the MTBoS keynote in Nashville, and the support of our fringe events like Game Night and ShadowCon are meaningful. I’m all for pressing NCTM to be what we need it to be. But I’m also all for recognizing the big shifts made over the last few years. Change comes faster within the (unstructured, unregulated) #MTBoS than it can within the (highly structured, institutionalized) NCTM, just by the nature of the beasts. But good change is happening nonetheless.

The blog post you are reading right now focuses on the idea of “#MTBoS representation on all NCTM committees.” Recently, Carl Oliver, Tina Cardone, and I began two-year terms on the NCTM Publishing committee. Our first committee meeting will be held soon and we’ll all have more specific information afterwards, which we’ll be sure to share. So, in an effort to begin with transparency, this particular post is meant to be a kind of digital town hall.

NCTM_R_LogoandName4C_L

As #MTBoS constituents, please share your answers to these (or other questions) in the comments section…

  • What issues are important to you regarding NCTM publications (magazines, books, and journals)?
  • How do you currently use NCTM publications in your professional life (in or out of the classroom)?
  • How can NCTM publications be the most useful to you in your professional role?

To be completely honest, as #MTBoS committee representatives we cannot promise to address everything, but we’d like to begin this adventure knowing what’s already on YOUR mind!

22 thoughts on “We Need YOU!

  1. Thanks for starting the conversation, Andrew! I use NCTM articles in my PD with teachers. I prefer articles that are a combination of research results with practical applications for teachers. Searching on-line for articles on a certain topic is more helpful to me than the printed journals. I’m more likely to read an article if I’ve seen multiple links to it on Twitter or Facebook.

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      • I don’t know if this falls within the kind of feedback you’d be giving, but I also like using NCTM articles in PD. However, if I’m just searching the website for a topic and not a particular article name or author I find their searching options really clunky to navigate. So I feel like I’m missing out on great articles that I could be using but never find!

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      • Thanks for your feedback Kassia! What kinds of topic searches do you find yourself making regularly?

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      • I agree with the challenge for searching tool. Not easy and starightforward to find article(s) we need. For example, very different experience with NSTA website! Check the science teachers website- so easy to use, find, and save articles.

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    • Use NCTM articles as expected reading before a PD for participants or after a PD to support the learning.
      Also for my own research in preparation of facilitating PD for a specific math content and/or pedagogy

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  2. I also am way more likely to use an article linked from somewhere than to browse journals as written. But as a middle school teacher, what I REALLY wish is that there were a membership option to access a certain number of articles online each year from ANY NCTM journal. Articles I’m interested in aren’t consistently in one journal.

    Also, it would be great if speakers gave links to their articles when relevant.

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      • Absolutely! As a high school teacher, for the first 10+ years of my career, I rarely thought about K-8 math curriculum and pedagogy. Having my own children over the last 5 years, meeting K-8 teachers through #MTBoS, and some serious reflection on my practice has led me to be far more interested in the math that comes earlier. I have had a few articles sent to me or recommended to me, but really feel that membership should include access to all online NCTM journals. It has a great potential to not only improve is all as teachers, but also break some of the grade band barriers that can separate us from our colleagues.

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      • We do need access for K-12 articles. At times relevant to the PD work we are doing, research, etc.

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    • I totally agree with Julie! There have been many times where a search returned an article that sounded relevant to what I was looking for, but wasn’t from the journal I’m subscribed to, so unless I wanted to pay to see it, it wasn’t getting access to it. Sad, because a membership should give access to all NCTM’s resources, not just part of it.

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  3. I missed “books” when I first read your post! I’ve used Principles to Actions and the 5 Practices books for book studies. I’ve also used parts of Principles to Actions in PD and our curriculum renewal process.

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  4. The same day as Tracy’s post Make Rosenfeld wrote a post in which he quoted regarding a quote by Steven Strogatz. “So many of the things that we do in math education — and maybe more generally in education — are giving students answers to questions that they would never think of asking. By definition, that’s what it is to be boring. If you’re sitting at a bar and someone’s telling you stuff that you’re not interested in and you would never think of asking about — what is more boring than that? That seems to be the model of our educational system: ‘Here’s the formula for the cosine of the double angle.’ ‘Well, I don’t care about that.’”
    When I read this I was reminded of Conrad Wolf ram’s TED talk from a few years back, and Sugata Mitra’s (among others) claims that the things we teach in math today are largely irrelevant. This is not to say I think beyond basic math is irrelevant, but I think there are folks who think about it a lot more than me, and some who study this area, and maybe even a few who are writing about what IS really important to actually be able to know how to do by the time you graduate 8th grade or high school, or who can clearly articulate and demonstrate how learning mathematical thinking transfers over to the types of skills and processes that are needed in the world, and that kids really care about. I know that sounds huge and amorphous, but if you come across folks putting ideas like that our into the ether please consider helping them get published.

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  5. Andrew,

    I have to be honest with you, and with the community, in that I don’t currently use the NCTM publications in any way, shape, or form. To be even more honest, I don’t see how beneficial they can be compared to the blog posts being written by classroom teachers from around the country, especially when they are published months after being written. Maybe I’m off with this assumption…

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    • Thank you for your feedback John!

      I love blog posts too! What would NCTM need to do to become more relevant to you in this digital age of blog posts and social media?

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      • I agree with John … I still get The Mathematics Teacher, but I haven’t opened one in at least two years. They are sitting in a stack on my desk collecting dust. The only way I would end up reading an article now is if it showed up in my blog reader. I am glad that the NCTM blogs have an RSS feed for subscribing, so I do get dinged when those are updated, but I just don’t take the time to read the articles in The Mathematics Teacher anymore. I know that an online magazine subscription is an option, but I wouldn’t take the time to go read that, either, from an email notification that it’s ready. It’s only blog reader or Twitter these days. All of that to say … if articles were featured in the blog, I’d more likely read them. And I might read some articles that are tweeted out with links (but I would more likely miss the tweet and only read if sent through blog).

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  6. I don’t actually read the articles in NCTM magazines. With the limited time I have, I find myself on Twitter more often. I do read articles if they are specifically recommended to me by colleagues.

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  7. I’d would personally like to see NCTM open up experiments with journals and blogs. I have some ideas:

    (a) A blogger for JRME who writes general audience posts about some of the recently published pieces.

    (b) Some serious R&D with the journals, perhaps with an online-only journal. Really a complete fresh start for a brand new thing is needed, I think. In particular, we need to think a bit about what a journal not focused on curricular resources would look like.

    (c) As a complete outsider and a journal reader, it sounds to me that NCTM is worried about providing forums for non-NCTM pedagogical viewpoints. I think this is a shame, as it can create a sort of very controlled reading experience, where it feels to me sometimes as if every piece needs to meet the pedagogical standards of P2A or CCSS. Where is the room to explore new ideas, question old ones, and to generally think? I would love NCTM to experiment with inviting a different sort of thinking in the journals, if not in their publications.

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