What Does Best Practice? Look Like Into The Mathematics Classroom?

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What does “best practice” look like in the mathematics classroom? As the focus of math changes students are asked to develop their mathematical thinking rather than their calculating skills. “While math traditionalist are correct that it is beneficial to memorize formulas, facts, and algorithms, the math reformists emphasize the need for students to have avenues such as journals, portfolios, or projects to demonstrate their understanding” (Kostos, Shin, 2010). As a result, students are asked to become critical thinkers and problem solvers. Teachers and students are taking on this task together. It is important that students are challenged to critically think and problem solve so they are able to transfer their learning to new and different situations. Jo Boaler, an expert in mathematical practices recognized the need for students to form a relevant connection to mathematics, with the hope that students would be able to use their learning outside of the classroom. Boaler found that students who learned mathematics in a project-based environment were able to apply their understanding to a variety of situations including assessments (Boaler, 1998). As our world changes and technology gets more advanced, we can no longer predict the situations our students will be in. Teachers must encourage critical thinking so students are ready to enter an ever-changing world. A strategy adopted by many schools to encourage the development of critical thinking in math is the implementation

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