Neufeld Learning Systems Inc. (NLSI) combines the excellence of The Understanding Math Series of programs and our Professional Learning Series (PLS) to improve a teacher’s capacity in the instruction of mathematics. The Understanding Math programs “unpack” the mathematical concepts into their discrete sub concepts. These concepts are developed from the concrete to the pictorial to the abstract using multiple representations. This approach makes mathematical concepts accessible to everyone. The Understanding Math Series of programs combines a highly interactive computer based learning environment that enables students to learn from their mistakes and at their own pace.
Our PLS provides a series of leveled workshops that lead participants to further develop their instructional capacity for mathematics. The workshops give teachers the theory and practicality of effective implementation strategies. The focus is on integrating a variety of resources – technology, instructional strategies, manipulatives, textbook, etc. – into their mathematics program. This approach lays the foundation for a program that gives each student the opportunity to make connections in an inquiry based, student centered learning environment.
There are 3 levels of professional development workshops in our PLS:
- Level 100: The first workshop of the PLS is focused primarily on modeling and supporting efficient use of the software. The more specific goals of the workshop are for the participants to be able to understand and discuss the 6 grounding principles of NLSI; moving from the concrete to the pictorial to the abstract, multiple representations of concepts, interactivity, learning from mistakes, pacing controlled by the learner and, using a wide variety of teaching strategies.
- Level 200: The main focus of the second workshop is on implementation strategies for Understanding Math and Understanding Numeration in the classroom. In the level 200 workshop, participants will; understand different classroom and group structures for integrating the software, have opportunities to explore the theory and supporting research and apply this knowledge to the classroom, develop an assessment task and rubric to evaluate student learning, and plan a unit using the Understanding Math programs and other classroom resources.
If improvement is sought in student performance on standardized tests then there must be focused attention on affecting what happens in the classroom while teaching students mathematics. Change has to be connected to changes in teaching. Teachers, like students, learn best by doing, reflecting, exploring, proving, additional practice and the process repeats.
Ideally, the workshops would be organized for early in the school year (first third) so that there is carryover from the workshops into their classrooms. Our Math System Specialists work closely with district leadership teams to support the smooth integration of The Understanding Math System into the district’s professional development framework.
“Any successful reform initiatives have to affect change at the instructional level, in the classroom.”
-Michael Fullan, 2006