TC² @ 25
Focus for This Month
Success Stories
Next Steps
Media Release
TC² @ 25
Focus for This Month
Success Stories
Next Steps
Media Release

April: Critical Inquiry in Math Class

Have thoughts like these ever gone through your mind?

  • “My students have forgotten the math I taught them just a few days ago!”
  • “My students struggle to solve problems even after I teach them every step.”
  • “I’ve tried everything in my power but my students still don’t get it.”
You are not alone.

Math classroom

Math educators everywhere continue to seek that elusive teaching method that will work for all their learners. They have tried discovery learning, open questions, and the use of a range of new tools including manipulatives, interactive technologies, and white board surfaces, to name a few. Some argue that a focus on the basics is most essential.

Perhaps most promising, however, is the push to encourage mathematical thinking. But how do we accomplish that goal? We cannot simply invite students to think more.

At TC², we embrace the idea that sustained quality mathematical thinking, or reasoning, is the key to the success of current and future generations of math students. The general idea is to help students build their capacity to reason mathematically in a number of different ways.

The six essential principles of powerful learning in math

TC²’s approach to math optimizes the learning of every student in your classroom. We believe that the key to powerful learning in math is to develop key mathematical thinking competencies, such as conceptual, strategic, and representational reasoning, to name a few.

The TC² approach to learning math strives to adhere to six essential principles.

  1. Be balanced: Build on the natural synergy between knowledge and reasoning—while students think to learn math, they learn to think mathematically.
  2. Be comprehensive: Develop a full range of mathematical thinking competencies, with a focus on quality reasoning while thinking, acting, and communicating.
  3. Be sustainable: Encourage ongoing practice involving both repetition and processing to achieve the long-term goal of automaticity. Students connect back to their learning to help them grow their learning forward.
  4. Be authentic: Develop practical mathematical intelligence for everyday, everywhere use.
  5. Be empowering: Create strongly independent, self-regulating, self-correcting, reflective learners who appreciate the opportunities inherent in not getting everything perfect the first time.
  6. Be naturally motivating: Allow students to anticipate what they need to learn. Encourage them to trust that multiple, sequenced thinking opportunities will support their learning.

No quick and easy solutions

Today’s math educators know that no quick and easy solutions exist for achieving the daunting goal of math success for every student. More important, math educators understand that their greatest challenge is not to help students memorize times tables and algebraic equations but to create a generation of learners who deeply understand math, who can use mathematical knowledge thoughtfully, and can do so confidently.

A quality thinking approach to math learning takes time, but investing in it reaps wide-ranging, sustained benefits. Most important, it could help to create a new generation of citizens, all of whom are mathematically proficient and any of whom could be competent teachers of mathematics in the years to come.

Laura Gini-Newman
TC² Math Specialist and Consultant

Send an email to Laura.