Historical perspective on Railside Principles of Complex Instruction Idea of smartness Issues of status during groupwork Strategies equitable interaction
1270 students in grades 8 – 12, by ethnicity: 56.7% White 20.2% Latino/Latina 10% Asian 5.5% African-American 4.8% Filipino 2% American Indian 0.7% Pacific Islander
1636 students in grades 9 - 12, by ethnicity: 13.6% White 42.7% Latino/Latina 25.8%African-American 7.9 % Asian 7.2%Filipino 0.6%American Indian 2.1% Pacific Islander
8 th grade: 8A, 8B, 8C (placement by test & recommendation of 7 th grade teacher) Grades 9-12 offerings: ArithmeticPre-Algebra Math 1-2Algebra I Math 3-4Geometry General Math Algebra II Math Analysis
Algebra I Sheltered Algebra I Geometry and Art Geometry Algebra II Pre-calculus A. P. Calculus
We had a problem to which none of us had the solution, but we were willing to take it on. Belief that together we would solve our problem with support of the principal and resources from outside, as needed and as available.
Everyone who was teaching mathematics agreed to attend monthly meetings of the department, to share knowledge of resources, and to participate. Everyone agreed to attend one professional learning opportunity each year and to share learning with the rest of us. We all agreed to implement what we learned and to talk about how it went.
The mathematics department wanted to have a say in the hiring of new teachers of mathematics. Asked that mathematics classes would be taught by those qualified or willing to work with the department to learn.
86-87: five workshops – each on a strand of the CA 1985 framework, all involved a problem-solving approach and making sense 88-89: introduction to Complex Instruction through Ruth Cosseys piloting of a unit 89-90: Dan Brutlag piloted one of his Investigations units in a Math 8 class
What if a part of the problem is what and how we are teaching and the courses we offer our students? What might we do differently?
To detrack our 8 th grade math classes, beginning in 1988-89, for three years Learning of teachers that year: - we needed support from each other - surprised by what students could do - we had so much to learn!
Students work together in a group small enough so that everyone can participate on a task that has been clearly assigned. Students are expected to carry out their task without direct and immediate supervision of the teacher.
is an approach designed to counter differences in social and academic status in mixed-ability classrooms. has its roots in a sociological analysis of central features of classrooms - the nature of the task, the roles of students and teachers, and the patterns of interaction. (Cohen & Lotan, 1997)
Curricular Materials Instructional Strategies Status & Accountability Principles of Complex Instruction
focus more on how our students were smart rather than on their deficits became curious about what led to more student interaction invited each other into our classrooms to look together and talk about what we saw.... yet!
Change our focus from Who is smart? to How is each person smart? Every student in your class is an expert in some valued intellectual skill. Try and find out what these are. - Elizabeth Cohen
To a great extent, students develop expectations for competence (i.e., their perceptions of smarts) for themselves and for others based on the teachers public evaluations of classroom performance. - Rachel Lotan in Teaching Teachers to Build Equitable Classrooms
Many ways to be smart are valued by the teacher and the students. Students frequently and successfully demonstrate their smarts and are recognized publicly for their competence and accomplishments.
smartness learning of mathematics teaching of mathematics
Must establish a productive and safe learning environment where students learn they can trust each other as they engage in conceptually challenging and intellectually rich learning tasks
Must teach students the skills to interact respectfully and productively; Must give them rich enough tasks around which to engage, to struggle, to learn Must intervene in ways that support their interaction and engagement, but also push on their understanding of key concepts Must be vigilant about issues of status
Between teachers Between teachers and students Between students Between teachers and administrators
Each teacher would have two preps: one foundation class, one higher level class New teachers would learn to teach the foundation class through a system of following
A status issue is seen as non-participation or dominance growing from agreed-upon rankings within a group with relation to perceived academic ability and/or attractiveness as a friend/popularity
delegate authority through the use of norms and roles provide learning tasks that require many different intellectual abilities for their completion and that promote interaction present a multiple-ability orientation to alert students to abilities needed
Students make the groups work by serving as intellectual, academic, and linguistic resources for one another and by holding each other accountable.
observe and document interaction intervene to: - assess understanding of individuals - push on students thinking/talking - hold individuals & groups accountable - identify contributions of specific students
When teachers and students alike are able to recognize and value the diverse intellectual contributions of all students in heterogeneous classrooms, they show their commitment to close the achievement gap and to develop democratic and caring classrooms. - Lotan (2006)
Experience engaging in a groupworthy task with a multiple-ability orientation and interventions Debrief Make connections with the principles of Complex Instruction
1) what do you believe it means to be smart? 2) do you think others with whom you work share the same meaning for that word? 3) what do you think your students mean when they say someone is smart?
How to Recognize Complex Instruction in the Classroom (handout) Bibliography of articles and books (handout) Contact information (after this week): firstname.lastname@example.org 503-267-4599