It is with anticipatory excitement that we announce the next Mathematics Teachers Colloquium, November 11-13, 2016 at the Rudolf Steiner School, New York City, hosted by Marisha Plotnik and Beth Weisburn. Mark your calendars now!
Inspired by the First World Mathematics Teachers Conference at the Goetheanum in October, 2015, we are more convinced than ever about the necessity for colleagues to work together in a radically new spirit of collaboration. We know that it is no longer enough to teach out of habit, no matter how beautiful and cherished those traditions may be. Neither should we merely adopt new outer forms and methods without understanding them from the inside.
Indeed, our times are calling for increasingly strong inner capacities.The study of mathematics can play a unique educational role in enabling human beings to develop their own strong, clear, flexible, powers of thought. Unfortunately, it can also merely train youngsters to follow algorithms that they experience as empty of meaning. While it is easy to measure how a student performs on a certain task, such as a standardized test, this only describes an external action. A high score might correspond to highly developed thinking capacities, but it can equally well be the result of a well-executed algorithm: when you see this kind of problem, follow these steps. As teachers, we must take an increasing interest in the inner experiences of the students in our math classes. Are they merely going through the motions? Or are they truly learning to think?
We are proposing a Research Colloquium at which willing teachers would present their individual work on this common theme. Our days together will also include working together on mathematics, open time for questions and dialogue, and informal fun.