During their careers, teachers play different roles, often simultaneously. It is important that professional development activities reflect the following four roles:
- Teachers as learners of mathematics
- Teachers as teachers of mathematics
- Teachers as collaborators with other teachers
- Teachers as agents of change working with administrators, parents, and other teachers
In a long-term professional development model, teachers will play each of these roles. The order in which these roles are listed is intended to reflect the priority that should be given these roles over time.
Professional development should help teachers identify the mathematics embedded within the Problems and the depth of understanding that Connected Mathematics helps students develop. It is important for teachers to understand the careful development of the concepts and skills throughout a Unit and see how these ideas build on prior understanding from previous Units. Thus, focusing on the development of mathematics is a priority for the first year of professional development. At the same time, exemplary teaching will be modeled and discussed.
Teaching plays a more prominent role during the second year of professional development. Collaboration is an effective way to support teachers' growth at this time. Analyzing student work can help teachers begin discussing mathematics, learning, pedagogy, and assessment. Planning a Unit of instruction together is another way in which teachers can collaborate. Mentoring and coaching are other activities that can help build strong learning communities. Finally, communicating the philosophy of CMP to administrators, other teachers, and parents is necessary if progress is to continue. The stages and activities within the professional development model should address each of these crucial roles.
As schools adopt CMP, they need to make a specific plan for professional development of teachers. A summary of the major ideas and issues related to professional development and enactment of CMP discussed in this section appears below.
CMP has been carefully developed, field tested, revised and, evaluated. The vision of Connected Mathematics is articulated in NCTM's Principals and Standards for School Mathematics (NCTM 2000).
Principles and Standards for School Mathematics describes a future in which all students have access to rigorous, high-quality mathematics instruction, including four years of high school mathematics. Knowledgeable teachers have adequate support and ongoing access to professional development. The mathematics curriculum is mathematically rich, providing students with opportunities to learn important mathematical concepts and procedures with understanding. (NCTM, 2000, p. 1).