Shared Authority in the Math Classroom.
The “More Knowledgeable Other” says this about math authority:
Attribution of mathematical authority: Suggests that the teacher should support students in sharing of authority (Lampert, 1990), problematizing content (Hiebert et al., 1996), working toward a shared goal (Hiebert et al, 1997), and ensuring that the responsibility for determining the validity of ideas resides with the classroom community (Simon, I 994).
More simply put, teachers share the math authority by providing guidance yet allowing students to make sense of problems themselves and then supporting them without denying them productive struggle. Think about who has the math authority in your classroom.
When you think to yourself, ”My students had a hard time with this last year, so I will just give them this hint or show them this example before they start the first problem” you are taking back some of the authority that the authors of CPM intended for the students. However, when you give a suggestion to a team that has already attempted the work but is struggling, or when you ask an advancing question, or redirect a team that has gone off the path that leads to the goal of the lesson, you are then sharing the authority with them. Shared authority builds students’ confidence. You will know it is working when students do not want to be interrupted by their teacher or when they are willing to be part of a class discussion to determine which thinking is most valid in a particular context. This week, be aware of when and how the math authority shifts between you and your students.