Tuesday, June 18, 2013

What's with that title anyway?

Let me say a bit about the title of this new blog of mine.

My teaching and scholarship have always centered around striving for understanding, and so I settled on the title "...do we understand" as I reflected on the types of questions I anticipate exploring here. These are the questions that interest me as a teacher, as a researcher, and as a human being.

So I expect I'll be exploring questions like:
  • Do we understand the content we are teaching and learning? How? What? Why?
  • Do we understand our students' ways of thinking? How? What? Why?
  • If not, how can we find out?  

And probably questions like:
  • Do we want to understand? Children strive for it, always asking why, but older students begin to replace why with is this going to be on the test? Why??
  • Do we understand each other? How can we be sure we're talking about the same thing? 

And almost certainly questions like:
  • Do we understand the effects of our instructional choices on learning? Can we anticipate and check for  unintended consequences?
  • Do we understand the strengths and limitations of the tools we use, both mathematical and pedagogical?

I could go on, but perhaps I'll write more in another post. Did I mention I'm just getting started with this blog? For now, how about one last bit of xkcd fun?


  1. Looking forward to reading your thoughts on these questions, especially "Do we understand the content we are teaching and learning? How? What? Why?" What does it mean to understand geometry, for example?

    Welcome to the #MTBoS (mathtwitterblogosphere)!

  2. Thanks Megan! That's an interesting question about geometry -- any particular element or topic of geometry you're wondering about? Area and perimeter concepts come immediately to mind for me. Ooh, that gives me an idea for another post! Thanks for the comment and the idea :-)