July 2012 Archives

This is a reprint of a November 2011 post. I'm reprinting it now because it's a lot easier to revisit and revise policies and practices over the summer than it is mid-year. And nothing needs to be revisited or revised more than our response to test score pressure. I look forward to your comments (see the original post for previous comments). Note to readers: With legislators considering the future of NCLB, I feel compelled to share some thoughts on this from my experience as an urban teacher and school leader. So, here's my first post on policy rather than practice: ...


Procedural fluency or conceptual understanding--math educators have debated for years which is more important. I sided with conceptual understanding until my colleague Angela McIver helped me see the value of procedural fluency in terms of stamina. Like all of us, students have finite energy. The more energy they use for procedures, the less energy they have for problem solving. And the less energy they have for problem solving, the less likely they are to gain conceptual understanding. A lack of procedural fluency can therefore contribute to a lack of conceptual understanding. The issue, then, isn't if we should target procedural ...


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