Every Child Mathematically Proficient: Tips for Teachers

  1. High Expectations for All. Advocate for the establishment of clear standards for what all students should know at each grade level. These can be your guide for holding all students to high expectations. Search out strategies that will help mathematically challenged students meet higher expectations, including mastery of core concepts of Algebra and Geometry.
  2. Algebra and Geometry by Grade Nine. Encourage your school to incorporate core concepts of Algebra and Geometry into the curriculum beginning in the early grades. Virtually every child should master these core concepts by grade nine.
  3. Get Involved in Curriculum Reform. Every district’s mathematics curriculum and textbooks should support good classroom practices based on sound research findings. Urge your district to include teachers in the textbook selection process and on curriculum development committees.
  4. Continue Your Professional Development. Become proficient in the mathematics course content at all grade levels taught in your school. Students need teachers who are well prepared in content and math teaching techniques. Middle school teachers also need a solid understanding of primary and secondary level mathematics.
  5. Keep Parents Informed. Communicate to parents the specific standards that students are to meet at each grade level. Regularly update parents on their child’s progress.
  6. Involve the Business Community. Think of ways the local business community can be helpful to your school. Encourage local businesspeople to visit classes and demonstrate how they use math in their work. Work through your school to encourage employers to participate in school-to-work programs and student career days, and to support teacher professional development.
  7. Push for Professional Development. Advocate for high quality training that is consistent with research findings, is ongoing, and relates to the curriculum you teach and on which students will be held accountable. Professional groups can also offer valuable support.
  8. Pair Math "Buddies." Start a peer tutoring program. Encourage students who "get it" to help struggling students with group work and homework. Peers can often give explanations that other students understand more easily. At the same time, search for different ways of presenting concepts that students find difficult.
  9. Be a "Math Ambassador." Through your interactions with students, parents, and outside of school, you can demystify math and highlight the importance of being mathematically literate. You can help others understand that math includes computation and much more!
  10. Use What Works in Your Classroom. Identify what the research shows is already known to work in teaching your subject and use these findings to guide your own instruction.

Tips are reproduced from the Learning First Alliance’s Every Child Mathematically Proficient: An Action Plan.