Center for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching


Professional Development in Mathematics

CEMaST is committed to providing effective Professional Development Programs (PDP) in mathematics for teachers, administrators, family, and community members. The following principles guide the design of these activities.

  1. Professional Development Programs need to be developed as part of a partnership between the participants in the program and the CEMaST faculty.
  2. Professional Development Programs need to be responsive to the needs and concerns of the participants. Therefore, they must relate to the teachers' classrooms, the administrators' schools and the families' roles in supporting the mathematics education of their children. As a result, CEMaST's activities will be framed within the context of the state mathematics standards framework and the district instructional materials.
  3. Professional Development Programs need to be scheduled over a considerable period of time. It is only through ongoing support, that participants make the most effective use of what they learn in the PDP.
  4. Professional Development Programs in mathematics must address the mathematical knowledge of participants as well as concerns related to pedagogy and assessment.
  5. Professional Development in mathematics differ from programs in reading and language arts in significant ways.
    • All teachers know how to read. Not all teachers know mathematics or how to do mathematics. Therefore, participants in mathematical professional development programs should engage doing mathematics that is at a level just beyond their comfort level. These activities serve as a vehicle for the analysis of the process and content of mathematics as well as an introduction assessment activities.
    • Reading is a content less discipline. Mathematics has a defined content that must be addressed. The process of reading uses the content of other subjects such as social science, science, or literature to develop reading skills. In learning how to do mathematics (the process part), participants also are required to use or learn the content of mathematics. This content addresses several subdisciplines such as number, geometry, algebra, statistics, and probability. The process itself often requires mathematical reasoning, representing mathematical ideas in many different ways, and identifying similarities and differences among the mathematics content studied.
  6. Professional Development Programs must provide the participants with the time and opportunity to discuss and plan how to use what they have done during the programs' activities in their own classrooms and schools.