Three master mathematics teachers from the Rice University School Mathematics Project (RUSMP)’s National Science Foundation Robert Noyce Fellowship Program hosted ten Noyce Fellows from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette together with their professor, Dr. Peter Sheppard, earlier this month. The ten visitors were guests of Charlie Burrus at Bellaire High School, Lan Wu at Lamar High School, and Dr. Gail Hamilton at Pin Oak Middle School. The collaboration between the two groups of teachers started remotely in the fall with discussions about mathematics instruction. While in Houston, the visitors attended classes and planning meetings, and participated in conversations about important issues in education.
Guests were in awe of the high achievement levels that they observed at all of the schools yet with each school retaining its own unique identity. They felt students inherited the schools’ culture of success and achievement. One teacher commented that “Because of this experience, I will now be more aware of teachable moments and take advantage of them.” Another visitor mentioned “I was reminded of the importance of strong instructional leadership. It is critical for the teacher to lay the foundation for learning. With this base of knowledge, I observed students easily transitioning into activities that were rich and meaningful.”
RUSMP Director of Research, Dr. Adem Ekmekci, noted that “this was a unique collaboration between two groups of master teachers from different states and educational contexts. A preliminary study revealed that teachers felt extremely positive about observing different school cultures and mathematics classrooms. As teachers reported, it was a great learning experience for both groups, and they all look forward to building upon this initiative by furthering the collaboration between the two groups.”