We believe all children are mathematicians and have an innate sense of mathematics concepts. Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI), a highly effective research-based program, is central to our teaching of math. Teachers use children’s thinking as a basis for curricular decision-making.
Using CGI, teachers start with what children already know about math and build on it to move them toward deeper levels of understanding. Children solve problems in ways that make sense to them using real-world contexts. During problem solving, multiple strategies are shared, honored and highlighted. Children are expected to articulate their thinking and collaborate with others. Students are encouraged and supported to persevere through challenging problems. Mistakes are viewed as opportunities for learning. We focus on conceptual understanding as a foundation and gradually progress to more abstract representations of math concepts.
Note, this approach is different from the traditional method of teaching the symbolic computation first and then expecting students to apply the concepts to problem solving situations.
CGI research consistently demonstrates that teachers who know the details of their students’ mathematical thinking have higher achieving students. Developing students’ confidence and positive attitude toward mathematics is part of that success.