Region S2 Report - Winter 2009/2010

 

WORK Smarter, Not Faster and Not Harder
Suzanne Mitchell, Southern 2 Regional Director
Winter 2009/2010

Do you remember the old adage "work smarter, not harder" Smarter working habits take planning, organization, and discipline. Then I encountered a book by Cathy L. Seeley, Faster Isn't Smarter: Messages About Math, Teaching, and Learning in the 21st Century. This book puts into perspective that we should WORK smarter, not faster and not harder. Faster Isn't Smarter is a resource for teachers, leaders, policy makers, and families.

The book consists of 41 relatively independent messages for many audiences. Each message presents a discussion of an issue or challenge related to school mathematics or to the broader educational system in which we teach. Stories are powerful teaching tools and the individual messages are threaded with stories from Seeley's experience with teachers and students. The messages are arranged in three parts. Part I encompasses overarching, global issues in education appealing to a broad audience including policy makers, those outside of education, curriculum developers and school leaders. Part II targets school and community issues relevant for local decision makers and communities. Part III looks at issues of interest in schools and classrooms pertinent to teachers.

Each message has a "What Can We Do?" section that challenges collective mathematics leaders, community, and policy makers that "we" can work smarter together to make necessary changes to the educational system to support student learning. Following each message is a "Reflection and Discussion" section with questions for teachers, families, leaders, and policy makers. These are thought-provoking questions and statements to be used to develop action items and to process the ideas presented in the message. I challenge each of you in the NCSM Southern 2 Region to read Seeley's book, Faster Isn't Smarter before June 2010 and decide if "Math for a Flattening World" or "Not Your Grandpa's Algebra" or "We Don't Care About the Answer" interests you!! Cathy Seeley is currently a Senior Fellow with the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas, working on state and national policy and improvement efforts in mathematics education, preK-12.

During the summer and fall 2009, I was able to visit all seven states in the Southern 2 Region: Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas. I would like to thank the NCSM state team leaders who were so vital in working to help the state meetings be successful.

Start planning NOW to attend NCSM events at the Annual Meeting April 19-20, 2010 in San Diego, California. I urge each of you to attend sessions about the NCSM PRIME Leadership Framework and create ways to implement these in your school district and into your leadership style. Please contact me if I can be of help at our spring state meetings.

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