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Teaching for Robust Understanding: Powerful instruction for all students


We want our students – all of our students – to emerge from our classrooms as knowledgeable and resourceful thinkers and problem solvers, with a sense of personal agency and positive dispositions about themselves as mathematics learners.  The question is, how do we get there? That is, what kinds of learning environments help all students become powerful mathematical thinkers?

The Teaching for Robust Understanding (TRU) framework says what counts. If the content is rich; if students are engaged in sensemaking and productive struggle; if there are ways to engage every student with core mathematical content and practices; if norms support engagement that supports a sense of agency, ownership over the content, and a sense of mathematical self; and if there are robust feedback mechanisms (formative assessment), then good stuff happens.

I'll illustrate the framework with a video and talk about tools that can help these ideas come alive in classrooms.

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