Last September, I wrote a blog entry about the importance of partnership in our work with teachers. I described how we understand that each teacher, teacher aide, director, and researcher brings a set of understandings and experiences to this work and that these can contribute to a rich, fruitful interaction. If you read the blog entries from my early math colleagues, you’ll get a sense of the rich interactions that we are experiencing within our community of practice. We’re seeing partnerships develop that strengthen teaching, support learning, and bring joy to both.
In this entry, I again want to share an essential element of a partnership approach as described by Jim Knight in his book, Unmistakable Impact. Knight points to the importance of voice:
“To silence the voices of teachers by asking for compliance (just follow the script) rather than ideas and feedback is dehumanizing–treating teachers like objects rather than thinking creative professionals.” (p. 35)
I suspect that many efforts aimed at improving teaching and learning do not take into account teachers’ voices. In fact, many are predicated on the notion that teachers do not always know what is best for the students in their classrooms. As Knight suggests, however, when efforts do not consider teachers’ voices or perspectives, or the ways they know and understand their own classroom environments, little progress can be made.
We hope to continue to listen to and share the voices of our preschool teaching colleagues. Our work together depends on the ways in which we all interpret, value, and take ownership of children’s mathematics learning.