Talk Less, Listen More


Talk Less, Listen More

Time flies, doesn’t it?

It is hard to believe that this is my first post of the 2016-17 School Year and it is the middle of October. After doing some travelling to present throughout the summer and spending the balance of my time with my family, the beginning of the school year came fast and furious and hasn’t slowed down yet.

There was definitely no “ease in” time for my new role as K-12 Math Consultant for my district. After our board assembled a Math Task Force to make recommendations to address falling EQAO standardized test scores, our Math Task Force Report was released and we are now entering the first year of our plan. The first two weeks of the school year involved providing mathematics professional development to build the capacity of our central office staff in mathematics content knowledge and pedagogy. Less than a week after, we dove into our first Administrator Capacity Training sessions in which all of our Elementary (K-8) principals and vice-principals engaged in similar learning. Shortly thereafter, we jumped into our Math Learning Team sessions where every school math team consisting of administrators, math liaison teachers, and learning support teachers would join us for mathematics learning. Tomorrow is our last session before we begin planning for our next round of professional learning.

While it might seem logical that my absence in the Math Twitter Blogosphere is purely due to a lack of available time, I think there is more to it. Since the early spring, I have made it a personal goal to speak less and listen more – both in face-to-face interactions and online.

For the past few years, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed sharing my thoughts as I work through ideas and beliefs on my blog and on Twitter. Many times, readers are positive and appreciative; other times, not so much. While I have learned so much from these experiences, my biggest take-away is the realization of how little I know.

We’ve all heard the quote from Socrates:

The more I learn, the less I know.

For me, it was always just a quote with no real meaning or connection to my own life. Then, when new learning prompts you to start rethinking what you thought to be true or believe, the quote suddenly makes perfect sense.

Redefining Mathematics Education and what learning math looks like is not easy. Sometimes in the past, when I would get an “ah-ha” moment or epiphany, I would jump to a conclusion about how to fix the problem or make it better. While deep inside I must have known that math is much more complex than that, my lens was probably too narrowly focused on these new ideas rather than widening my perspective to see the complex system as a whole. I think it is important to note that while mathematics education is complex, it is not complicated. One of My goals this year is to try identifying useful components of this complex system as well as the components that unnecessarily complicate the process.

While I do believe this latest revelation is a sign of personal and professional growth, the downside is that I now hesitate to write that next blog post when I stop to consider that there is always more to learn. I’m sure it will be difficult, but I will do my best to speak less and listen more by sharing my thoughts from a learning stance.

I hope you’ll join me here as I try to learn my new role – one day at a time.


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