4.1 Demonstrating Knowledge of Content and Pedagogy
In this standard, distinguished teachers’ plans and practice reflect familiarity with a wide range of effective pedagogical approaches in the discipline. This means that the teacher’s lessons and activities are not pulled out of a hat, but developed through research and reflection to provide students with ample opportunities for learning and understanding. Figure 1 shows a question for a performance task I created with a partner during the my Elementary Math Methods course. This specific question was designed to be a modified version of the original question, which may have been confusing for young kids or ELL students, as it was about the capacity of the ferry boat. The question is a part of a performance task which was created with the context of a field trip on a ferry to Bainbridge Island from Seattle. The context was designed to be one that was interesting for the students, and also familiar, while familiarizing them with important vocabulary such as “budget”. In addition, this particular problem asks students to agree with one of the students in the scenario, supporting mathematical practice 3 from the Common Core State Standards, which is that students can construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others. While creating this performance task, I learned that it isn’t simple to create math problems that are effective for student understanding and assessment. It takes time, research, reflection, and feedback to devise an assessment that works for both the students and the teacher. In the future, I will be more effective at demonstrating knowledge of content and pedagogy if I take more research into account, and ask experienced teachers for feedback on my work. My assessments aren’t going to be perfect at first, but by reflecting on the feedback of others and reading more about pedagogy specific to teaching math, I can improve my practices.