Filling a Void: Grace Education Faculty Publishes Mathematics Teacher Lesson Plan Protocol
You’ve heard the saying, “What you teach, you learn.” Educators live out this phrase in the classroom every day. They have to know their material in order to teach it, and, as they teach it, they continue to learn it. Being able to explain to another what you have learned yourself and offer specific, timely feedback to students is a skill that must be learned and cultivated over time.
Dr. Kevin Voogt, assistant professor of education, understands the importance of cultivating the skill of explanation. After observing and evaluating prospective mathematics teachers while getting his Ph.D. from Michigan State University, he developed a criteria for evaluating math teacher lesson plans and teaching. The criteria help teachers catch mistakes and improve the accuracy of their mathematics instruction.
Throughout the process, he worked to refine the criteria and publish it with his colleague, Dr. Kristen Bieda, in an article called “Filling a Void: The Mathematical Quality in Planning Protocol for Mathematics Teacher Educators” in the Mathematics Teacher Educator Journal. The goal behind the article was to help bridge the gap between being able to do math and being able to teach it.
During his doctoral work, Voogt was a teacher’s assistant for a course that prepared future secondary education teachers by having them teach a College Algebra course at the college level. “The idea was to give them experience as a math teacher without also having to deal with classroom management,” said Voogt.
While observing their teaching, Voogt noticed repeated errors in explanation and examples. He observed lessons for multiple classes of students for two years across three universities, and was able to organize their errors into observable categories, such as mathematical precision, mathematical errors, and knowledge of students and curriculum. The categories then provided a protocol for giving feedback and showing the teachers where they tended to make the most errors.
After finishing the protocol, Voogt had a novice instructor of preservice teachers use his protocol to evaluate the students’ lessons and give feedback. First, she evaluated the lesson without using the protocol, which gleaned generalized feedback (e.g., timing, choices of activities) that focused on the lesson plan itself. But after using Voogt’s protocol, the instructor’s feedback on the math increased, and she was able to provide more specified critique. Her feedback was helpful in demonstrating the practical nature of the protocol and how it could be used.
Prior to becoming a faculty member at Grace, Voogt taught high school math for eight years. “I made plenty of mistakes when I taught, and I also understand the high stakes nature of teaching — you are in charge of accurately filling young minds.”
However, Voogt also knows that teachers should not be afraid to make mistakes. “Sometimes a student would catch an error, which allowed me to demonstrate how to make mistakes to my students. There is a reason why we do math with a pencil and an eraser.”
Because he has worked extensively with the protocol, it has become second nature in Voogt’s teaching. Education students at Grace who take mathematics methods courses will be taught how to critically evaluate their lessons to ensure accuracy and clarity.
Do you want a college that has talented and passionate faculty who are ready to impart their knowledge to students? Then Grace is the right place for you! Fill out an application and check out our undergraduate majors to get started today. Check out our School of Education news for more exciting updates!