A basic goal of Focus on Mathematics is to transition to a place where most of its professional development activities are designed, organized, and run by expert teachers in collaboration with higher education faculty.
These teachers, called Mathematics for Teaching Fellows (MTFs), will drive the professional development and curriculum revision programs in the partnership, and they'll work with higher education faculty to revise teacher preparation programs at the university level. The program will be based on a 6-week immersion experience in mathematics, a research project, and preparation for taking a lead role in professional development.
Mathematics for Teaching
The Master of Mathematics for Teaching (MMT) degree
prepares teachers to be experts in mathematics and professional
development. Teachers already holding a master's
degree may earn a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study
(CAGS) in Mathematics Education with a specialization
in Mathematics for Teaching. These programs are jointly
offered by the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and
the School of Education (SED) at Boston University.
Focus of Programs: These Mathematics for Teaching
programs are designed for teachers who seek to become
leaders in mathematics education. They are based on an
immersion experience in mathematics, related coursework,
and preparation for assuming leadership roles.
Need for Math Programs: Student achievement in
mathematics lags behind achievement in other disciplines.
Research in math education has consistently proven
that the most important variable in the classroom is the
teachers' depth of understanding of the mathematics they
teach. Boston University's Mathematics for Teaching programs
are designed to support teachers as mathematicians
for leadership roles in their schools in order to cultivate
and enhance student success in mathematics.
Deepening Teachers' Math Understanding: Increasing
achievement for all students requires challenging mathematics
programs taught by teachers who are themselves
expert in and excited by mathematics.
The design of the MMT/CAGS programs is deeply influenced by the experience we have gained through our work in the PROMYS for Teachers program. PROMYS for Teachers has evolved over the past decade, and along with this evolution has emerged a set of design principles for mathematics courses and seminars for practicing and prospective secondary (5—12) mathematics teachers. In addition, we have learned the importance of the pedagogy and leadership skills that so many teachers possess in abundance. Faculty in the School of Education have taken the lead in the development of these teacher skills by designing MMT/CAGS courses to prepare teachers to lead professional development programs in their schools.
Specifically, the Mathematics for Teaching programs are founded on our belief that
mathematical leaders in the schools need to know
Scholars: A solid grounding in classical mathematics
includes the study of its major results, its history of
ideas, and its connections to pre-college mathematics.
Educators: An understanding of the habits of mind
that underlie major branches of mathematics and
how they develop in learners is built upon a knowledge
of algebra, geometry, and analysis.
Mathematicians: Mathematical research experience
provides a foundation in grappling with problems,
building abstractions, and developing theories.
Teachers: Expertise in the uses of mathematics that
are specific to the profession include the ability
"to think deeply about simple things," the creation
of classroom activities that uncover central ideas,
the craft of task design, the ability to see underlying
themes and connections, and the "mining" of
These core concepts are most relevant to the mathematical
part of the programs. The curriculum development
and teacher training aspects of the program also
address other specific areas of need, including adult
learning, curriculum design for professional development
programs, and the mathematical needs of practicing