Professional Development

"The kind of teaching envisioned in [NCTM’s teaching] Standards is significantly different from what many teachers themselves have experienced as students in mathematics classes. Because teachers need time to learn and develop Standards-based teaching practice, appropriate and ongoing professional development is crucial." (NCTM, 2007, p. 6.)

Implementing any new curriculum involves learning on the part of the teacher. Implementing Investigations asks teachers to create a classroom where "students are investigating mathematical relationships, constructing and testing conjectures, and justifying their approaches to solving problems." This requires teachers "to learn much more about the content of the mathematics and the ways in which students develop mathematical understanding. Since many currently practicing teachers did not gain this experience and knowledge in their own teacher education, they need to develop it as they teach." (Russell, 1998.)

In other words, professional development is critical. Teachers need time to work together to study the Investigations curriculum, plan and implement lessons together, and analyze student work. They need to refresh and extend their knowledge, and to continually develop the mathematical expertise required to teach the range of learners found in every classroom. Administrators and math leaders (teacher leaders, math coaches, etc.) also need support designed to meet their needs. Therefore, a long-term, multi-year plan for professional development is a critical piece of any plan for effectively using Investigations to improve the teaching and learning of mathematics. (Learn more about developing such a plan.)

"The reality is simple: unless teachers are able to take part in ongoing, sustained professional development, they will be handicapped in providing high-quality mathematics education." (NCTM, 2000, p. 370.)