Getting Started

Congratulations on getting this far! You are now part of an international research project entitled “How do I ┬ábecome a better teacher?”

This project assumes that teaching is a learning profession and that this learning will be on-going throughout your career. It also assumes that teachers learn best from studying their own practice and that of others; in other words they learn best in and from practice (Ball & Cohen, 1999). It is very popular to talk about teachers becoming lifelong learners but it isn’t as clear as to what that actually means. Does it mean we learn through experience? If so, how does “becoming experienced” open our eyes to new ways of doing things? Our argument is that teachers need to be continually challenged as to what represents “great instruction”. They need to see it in action, they need to try to out for themselves and they need to discuss it with like minded professionals. In other words they need to belong to a learning community that is continually asking the question, “How do I become a better teacher?”.

Before you begin this project you will need a working file, a daily journal and a problem solving notebook. Of course these may be electronic but part of your work will be working on mathematical problems and this is probably still easier to do by hand!

You will be expected to read relevant literature and so it is a good idea to create an index system of books and papers that you read as you go along. File them under the author’s name or title. Make notes as you read and start to record key sentences that you may wish to use in your own writings. Make sure you have a system to identify exactly where your quotes have come from. It is much harder to do this later.

In your first year of this programme, you will be working on two modes of assessment:

  1. Critical Reflection on Practice
  2. Developing Practice through a Project

Although these actually run in parallel, it is probably best to begin working on Critical Reflection on a project.