This post is the latest iteration on our work on developing a coherent theory of practice that will inform our decision making, either when planning, or in the moment.
Educational values and purposes
There is no best practice. Teaching decisions are judgements (based on purposes and values) made in specific contexts in response to dilemmas.
Here are our (still tentative) purposes:
- To educate awareness: of mathematics, of others, of self.
- To create an inclusive, equitable community.
We have identified the following values:
- Responsibility (for self, for others)
- Attentiveness (to mathematics and to each other)
- Receptivity (being open, to mathematics and to each other)
- Decentration (to shift one's perspective or take multiple perspectives, putting oneself in the place of another)
There may also be something to be included here about providing opportunities for students to become more aware of their presence in the world, to be present-to and present-with mathematics, and with each other, but perhaps this is subsumed in these purposes and values. We might decide to include it if we find it useful.
It is worth noting that not every action will promote every value; certain actions may bring certain values to the fore.
Distribution of authority
We have identified three dimensions of action, all contributing to our awareness of the distribution of authority in the classroom:
- Dialogue (negotiation)
Opening or closing these dimensions will alter the distribution of authority, and will allow different awarenesses to become present. Decisions to do so will depend on the needs of the individuals and the community.
These dimensions are variables we can control to some extent, although our actions will have both intended and unintended consequences.
The next step is to re-analyse our basic-level actions: to see where they are placed within the dimensions of action, and how they might contribute to reaching our purposes and values.