Our Priorities: Making Connections and
Advocating for High Quality Mathematics Teacher Education
What’s happening within AMTE? How are the ongoing initiatives of the AMTE Board of Directors advancing our strategic priorities to “strengthen connections across the organization” and to “strengthen AMTE’s advocacy for high quality mathematics teacher education?” Well, I am thrilled to inform you of what’s taking place for AMTE members as a result of Board actions.
First, a visit to the AMTE website will apprise you of a new feature: the AMTE Member Bulletin Board, a place where AMTE members can post information pertinent to ongoing work in mathematics teacher education. Additionally, the Professional Development Committee posted a call for proposals to present webinars. While the AMTE webinars are a member benefit, this open call for proposal expands opportunities for members to present their work. These two features respond to our priorities—particularly as vehicles for strengthening connections.
Second, the AMTE Board agreed to support the open letter, written by NCTM and NCSM, on EdReports’ assessment of K-8 mathematics textbooks. The AMTE Board charged the Emerging Issues Committee (EIC) to review the ongoing conversation about EdReports’ process of assessment and requested a recommendation for AMTE’s role in addressing the issue. Upon completion of the review, the EIC responded “We as Mathematics Teacher Educators (MTE) often not only introduce teachers (prospective and practicing) to curriculum materials, but also support them in developing strategies for evaluating and using materials in productive ways.” Thus, making the case for the importance of AMTE’s support of the open letter and the pertinence to our work as MTEs.
Third, in April 2015, the AMTE Board moved forward in the development of Standards for Mathematics Teacher Preparation PK-12. The AMTE Board established a leadership team for the development of the standards. The leadership team includes Doug Clements, Nadine Bezuk, Jennifer Bay-Williams, and Gary Martin as lead developers for grades PK-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12 respectively with Nadine Bezuk serving as the lead organizer. Below I provide an update on this development.
Fourth, the AMTE Elementary Mathematics Specialist Research Conference, sponsored by AMTE and the Brookhill Institute of Mathematics was held May 18 -19, 2015 in Waukesha, Wisconsin. The conference was organized by Nicole Rigelman and Maggie McGatha who provide details about the conference in this newsletter. Below, I share my perspective about the significance of this conference in promoting AMTE’s 2015 priorities
Developing Standards for Mathematics Teacher Preparation PK-12
Given the current issues and challenges facing teacher preparation programs, the AMTE Board of Directors acknowledged the imperative need for AMTE as the lead organization in mathematics teacher education to disseminate broadly a well-articulated vision of what it means to prepare teachers of mathematics. The leadership team submitted a proposal outlining a vision for the standards document.
This project will produce a set of standards describing a national vision for the initial preparation of mathematics teachers PK-12. These standards will guide the improvement of individual teacher preparation programs (no matter their accrediting agency) and promote national dialogue and action related to mathematics teacher preparation. These standards are aspirational, advocating for practices that support candidates in becoming high quality teachers who guide student learning. While a number of documents (such as the Mathematical Education of Teachers II and the Council for the Accreditation for Educator Preparation Accreditation Standards) address various aspects of the initial preparation of mathematics teachers, there is no single, definitive document addressing the initial preparation of mathematics teachers more globally. Thus, it is not clear to what extent there is a clear, shared vision within the mathematics teacher education community or to what degree any such vision may be shared with other stakeholders involved in the initial preparation of mathematics teachers.
Next steps in the process are the selection of writers who will begin working in July 2015. The development also includes an extensive review process for vetting the document. AMTE members will have several opportunities to engage in the review of the document and provide feedback to the leadership team including participation in sessions at the 2016 Annual Conference.
The Elementary Mathematics Research Conference (EMS) was a highly interactive conference in which AMTE members, whose scholarship and practice are immersed in EMS, had the opportunity to share their research and practice. Participants shared how the conference fostered a sense of community in that they were galvanized by meaningful engagement through the research bursts and problems of practice sessions. The research bursts offered a quick way for accessing the landscape of the ongoing, cutting edge research being conducted by conference participants; the practice sessions offered opportunities to discuss challenges, issues, and concerns in doing the work of EMS while simultaneously promoting brainstorming that produced thought provoking potential solutions. Thus, this conference was a forum for developing collaborations, renewing and refocusing EMS research and practice, validating and gaining support for works in progress, learning about valuable resources and most specifically becoming knowledgeable of how this group’s collective body of research and practice is advancing research and influencing the focus on EMS across the country.
Finally, my purpose for this column was to share ways in which the AMTE Board is working on behalf of our members with specific references to our 2015 priorities. It is unequivocally clear, a number of initiatives are ongoing and we are moving forward. This progress is a direct result of the active engagement of our members and the support of sponsors. The Board applauds AMTE committee members and the standards development leadership team for their dedication and commitment to AMTE and thanks the Brookhill Institute of Mathematics for supporting the EMS Research Conference. We ask for your continued engagement and support of AMTE as the lead organization and public voice of mathematics teacher education.