The Variable: News and updates

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This editorial originally appeared in Volume 4, Issue 1 of The Variable. 

It has been a busy time around the editorial table at The Variable. First and foremost, we would like to extend a huge thank you and congratulations to everyone who played a part in the development of The Variable up to this date. It is the contributors, distributors, readers, and critical friends that made us what we are today and gained us recognition as recipients of the 2019 NCTM Affiliate Publication Award. As nice as awards are, we are just as excited about the stories of teachers reading, implementing, and tinkering with the ideas contained in these pages.

Now entering our fourth year of publication, we continue to refine our medium to best reflect and support the voices of Saskatchewan teachers. This process has not been a simple one due to the overwhelming diversity of Saskatchewan classrooms, and the strength of a periodical such as this relies on the willingness of contributors to provide a lens into these varied contexts.

With this in mind, we have made some changes designed to make your reading as practical as possible in your professional lives as mathematics teachers, consultants, coaches, and enthusiasts. First, The Variable is introducing a new column entitled “My Favourite Lesson.” It is designed for teachers to share lessons and tell stories directly from their classrooms. These stories represent the cornerstone of what we want to do: connecting teachers and amplifying their ideas. We are also moving to a semi-annual publication schedule focused on publishing issues at critical times in the professional calendar. Recognizing (and living within) the ebb and flow of classroom teaching, we hope that publication dates in late August and late January maximize your ability to interact with the ideas. We look forward to your feedback and your contributions.

In this edition, we are struck by a tension often overlooked in the teaching of mathematics. Jules Bonin-Ducharme and David Earl re-introduce us to very practical pieces of classroom teaching: conversation and practice. It is here that math teachers (including ourselves) often live—in the day-to-day “battles” of building mathematical understanding. Contrast that with the synopsis Dr. Egan Chernoff provides of the political “war” of mathematics teaching. Here we see our work as a larger piece of a political milieu, one that has a substantial influence. What we are left with is this: Until now, it seems the de facto mantra of the classroom teacher is to focus on winning “battles” and trust that the “war” will take care of itself. However, if the teaching of mathematics sways in rhythm with political tides, this may not be a luxury that teachers are afforded much longer.

Ilona & Nat

P.S. The President’s Message that you know and love is not gone, but now running on a variable schedule. In the meantime, you can follow President Michelle Naidu’s thoughts on math, education, and more on Twitter at @park_star.

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