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                    WATCHING THE
                    TEACHER AT WORK
                    Laurinda Brown and Alf Coles share with us their working

                        If we watch this teacher at work we see that: ...        The lesson write-up below is written in a style to
                    •   he sets the situation, giving essential informa-         disseminate the findings.
                        tion, but beyond that tells the children nothing.            In the first issue of MTi (July, 2009) there will
                    •   he obtains as much feedback from the children            be a video of Alf teaching and a lesson write-up of
                        as possible, by observing, asking questions, and         the rich task within which the sequence took place.
                        asking for particular actions.                           We wonder whether people who have read our
                    •   he works with this feedback immediately.                 writing in MT will see what they imagined from
                    •   except on rare occasions he does not indicate            this classroom, and we are hoping some of you will
                        whether a response is right or not though he             write in reflections after seeing this video, on the
                        often asks children which it is.                         interconnections between text and image.
                                                  (Wheeler, 1970, p.27)
                    When we met in 1995, Alf was starting his teaching           Equable shapes
                    career and Laurinda was a teacher educator
                    researching the professional development of                  Starting point
                    teachers. Our work together has recently been                Draw these two rectangles on the board.
                    marked by the publication of a book, Hearing                 Question: What is the same or different about
                    Silence. When we thought about the invitation to             these 2 shapes?
                    outline what we did together, it has felt like a
                    journey punctuated by ‘watching the teacher at
                        In 1995, Alf ’s ideal was to emulate the teacher
                    in the article by David Wheeler quoted above, but
                    he had no image of how that looked in practice. Alf
                    also talked about reading MT articles and ‘all the
                    things that these people had just got their classes
                    doing anyway, things like discuss in pairs and bring
                    it back to the class and I’m thinking, how on earth          Someone will comment on the rectangles being different
                    do you do that?’                                             sizes. They may mention area and perimeter. If not,
                        Early in our work Laurinda taught one of Alf ’s          introduce these terms as ways that mathematicians
                    classes, with a focus on using strategies for ‘sharing       determine the sizes of shapes.
                    responses’. Later in various projects we co-observed
                    videotapes of lessons, with different groups of              Add underneath each rectangle, A=
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