Our vision for math circles is two fold.
- We want children in math circles to have fun, to actively engage in rich and unusual mathematics, and to want to do more math in the future.
- We want to support a community of teachers who are striving to make #1 happen.
Teaching is difficult. What lay people (non-teachers) often fail to understand is that good teaching is the product of an environment where teachers feel like part of a community, where they hang out with other teachers–let’s face it, to commiserate–but ultimately to share ideas and to improve.
I know MC2 is growing as an organization because I can see evidence of that teaching community in all of the work that we do.
This is what good teaching looks like: Notice how the mathematics here from our summer program that is being ‘discussed’ is the creation of a student–not the teacher. Notice that 13–13!–other students have shared their thinking about that first student’s work.
If you look at other photographs from the summer program in the blog post that precedes this one, you’ll see much more indirect evidence of good teaching. You’ll see students working together, you’ll see students engaged in tasks beyond what’s usually taught in school classrooms, and, you’ll see kids in a math class…smiling.
In our surveys, you’ll see kids saying things like: “The things you learn in math circles, you don’t really learn in school,” and that what they liked best was that, “It is engaging and involves everyone.” And parents: “‘At camp my daughter was challenged and enjoyed having a voice,” as well as, “My child was exposed to mostly drill and practices kind of math. And as a result didn’t like math. To him math is something he has to do in school. But through math circles he now tasted the creative + engaging side of math. He is interested in math now.”
These photographs and these words are a reflection of our community of teachers!