Beyond Answer Getting: Guided Math Group Work
Here is a must see video by Phil Daro on the need to teach our students more than “answer-getting” (click on the second tab at the top). Guided math groups is a space to help students really talk about the math they are learning. You want to guide conversations, guide conceptual understanding, guide procedural fluency and guide strategic competence building in a small, comfortable, academically rigorous learning situation. Three key elements of guided math group work:
1. Time to talk (each person gets to explain their mathematical thinking and their understanding of the thinking of others)
2. Time to listen (each person gets an opportunity to focus and try to comprehend the math that we are speaking about)
3. Time to practice (with the help of each other and the teacher, students will practice the math)
Whether you are working at the concrete, pictorial or abstract level, students need to know what the math is that they are working on. This should be explicit. We all have to seriously consider what it means to teach math and not answer-getting.