In the September 2020 newsletter, we shared CPM’s Principles of Equity. These four principles guide our ongoing work toward our vision and mission of, in short, more math for more people. Last year, our writing and professional learning teams studied the book Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain, by Zaretta Hammond. We found that it changed our thinking about teaching and learning, underscored the work CPM has made toward equity in math classrooms, and offered us ways to do better as educators. The book became an anchor text for our Building on Instructional Practice: Equity professional learning series. However, our reading generated more ideas than we could fit in the series, and we wanted to share the rich conversations and reflections with more people. As a result, this spring semester, we are excited to offer our first-ever virtual book study for the CPM community.
Historically, the education system in the United States has been organized to produce dependent learners, especially in schools and classes serving students of color, immigrant students, and students from low socioeconomic backgrounds. According to Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain, if students are to achieve at high levels, they need to be independent learners working in positive classroom cultures, with teachers who are warm demanders, expecting and supporting students to tackle rigorous content. Zaretta Hammond challenges teachers to use what we now know about the brain to shift our practice. By building their own awareness and knowledge, building learning partnerships with students, and building students’ intellectual capacity, teachers can stop the cycle of dependent learning and help all students achieve at high levels.
In this book study, we will discuss Hammond’s research and how it relates to mathematics classrooms. This study is ideal for anyone who is concerned about inequities in education or wants to do a better job connecting with students with different backgrounds from their own. No matter where you are in your teaching journey, Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain will challenge your thinking, increase your knowledge of how the brain works, and offer actionable ideas to improve your practice.
The book study group will meet together in the Professional Learning Portal, two times per month from January through March. Participants will need their own copy of Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain.