Teaching Problems and the Problems of Teaching / Edition 1

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In today's education debates, many experts call for school vouchers, smaller classes, more standardized testing, or rigorous teacher accrediting as the key to improving student performance. Remarkably, none of these approaches addresses what actually goes on in the classroom. In this book an experienced classroom teacher and noted researcher on teaching takes us into her fifth-grade math class through the course of a year. Magdalene Lampert shows how classroom dynamics -- the complex relationship of teacher, student, and content -- are critical in the process of bringing each student to a deeper understanding of mathematics, or any other subject. She offers valuable insights into students and teaching for all who are concerned about improving the learning that happens in the classroom.

Lampert considers the teacher's and students' work from many different angles, in views large and small. She analyzes her own practice in a particular classroom, student by student and moment by moment. She also investigates the particular kind of teaching that aims at engaging elementary school students in learning fundamentally important ideas and skills by working on problems. Finally, she looks at the common problems of teaching that occur regardless of the individuals, subject matter, or kinds of practice involved. Lampert arrives at an original model of teaching practice that casts new light on the complexity in teachers' work and on the ways teachers can successfully deal with teaching problems.

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Editorial Reviews

Jim Stigler
One of the most important books about education to appear in the past decade. . . . engaging, even gripping.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300099478
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 512
  • Sales rank: 522,641
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi
1 Understanding Teaching: Why Is It So Hard? 1
The Problems in Teaching 1
Teaching with Problems 3
Why Teach with Problems? 4
What I Teach with Problems 5
A Case of Teaching 6
2 An Instance of Teaching Practice 9
The Big Picture 9
Zooming In to a Lesson on Rate 10
Zooming Further In: Teaching Richard, Catherine, and Awad 14
Changing Focus: Teaching Anthony and Tyrone 19
Changing Focus Again: Teaching Ellie, Sam, and Yasu 23
From Narrative to Analysis 27
3 Why I Wrote This Book--and How 29
Isolation Versus Communication 29
Teaching as Working in Relationships: A Basic Model of Practice 30
Elaborating the Model: Teaching Across the Year, Across Students, and Across the Curriculum 35
An Unusual Research Program 38
Figuring out How to Display the Work of Teaching 41
Where Do Teaching Problems Arise? 45
4 Teaching to Establish a Classroom Culture 51
Arranging the Physical Environment to Support a Classroom Culture 54
Choosing Mathematical Content to Complement Culture-Building Practices 56
Zooming in on the First Mathematics Lesson of the Year 59
Zooming out to the First Week of School: Introducing Conditions, Conjectures, and Revision 65
Establishing Structures for Students' Independent and Collaborative Activities 79
Establishing Norms for Written Communication 84
What Kind of Work Is This? 92
Problems in Teaching in the Domain of Establishing Classroom Culture 97
5 Teaching While Preparing for a Lesson 101
Where to Begin, Mathematically? 101
Learning About My Students and Their Capacity to Study This Mathematics 108
Problems in Teaching in the Domain of Preparing a Lesson 117
6 Teaching While Students Work Independently 121
Teaching Problems in One-on-One Interactions with Students 122
Teaching Students to Study Collaboratively 127
Observing and Making Sense of the Range of Student Performance 131
Teaching Problems in the Domain of Supporting Students' Independent Work 139
Teaching Problems in Other Domains Caused by Students' Independent Work on Mathematics Problems 141
7 Teaching While Leading a Whole-Class Discussion 143
Teaching in the Moment so the Whole Class Can Study 144
Zooming out from Particular Exchanges to the Class as a Whole: Linking Students with Content Across Events 159
Using Students to Take the Class into New Mathematical Territory 164
Problems in Teaching in the Domain of Leading a Whole-Class Discussion 174
Problems in a Lesson Lead to Larger-Scale Problems 176
8 Teaching to Deliberately Connect Content Across Lessons 179
Anticipating the Connections That Can Be Made in a Problem Context 180
Teaching This Mathematics to This Class 188
Problems in Teaching in the Domain of Deliberately Connecting Content Across Lessons 210
9 Teaching to Cover the Curriculum 213
Teaching to Cover Topics with Problems 213
Viewing the Teaching of Topics Through Wide-Angle Lenses 217
Teaching Topics as Connected Elements of the "Big Ideas" in a Discipline 220
Cases of Teaching "Conceptual Fields" 223
Teaching Again in the "Same" Conceptual Field 240
Common Contexts and the Work of Coverage Across Lessons 255
Problems in Teaching in the Domain of Covering the Curriculum: "Invisible Work" 259
New Problems Raised by Reformulating Coverage in Terms of Conceptual Fields 262
10 Teaching Students to Be People Who Study in School 265
Teaching Intellectual Courage, Intellectual Honesty, and Wise Restraint 266
Working up to Mathematical Risk Taking: Teaching Richard from September to December 268
Integrating Academic Character into Preadolescent Social Life: Teaching Saundra to Think and to Reason 287
Problems of Practice in Teaching Students to Be People Who Study in School 325
11 Teaching the Nature of Accomplishment 329
Accomplishment in the Classroom 329
A Quiz on Fractions as a Resource for Teaching About Accomplishment 332
Problems in Teaching the Nature of Progress 357
Remaining Problems for Teaching 358
12 Teaching the Whole Class 361
Elements of Teaching in Understanding Variations in Achievement 363
Looking with a Wider Lens at Teaching to Differences 367
Figuring out What to Teach in March and Whom to Teach It To 371
Acts of Teaching for Working with Diverse Skills and Understanding at the Whole-Class Level 387
13 Teaching Closure 389
Providing an Opportunity for Students to Demonstrate Acquired Knowledge and Skill in a Conceptual Field 391
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