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FAQ for Teaching for Equity & Engagement in Mathematics (TEEM) Microcredential Courses

What is a microcredential?

A microcredential is a short, competency-based professional learning experience that often concludes with a digital badge awarded upon completion and demonstration of proficic TEEM is an online collection of microcredentials for teachers of mathematics to learn about, practice, and become proficient with specific skills that relate to teaching for equity and engagement. Each microcredential course is designed to take five weeks to complete and requires participants to engage in online activities facilitated by a classroom teacher who helped to develop and pilot the course’s materials. A digital badge is earned when a participant submits evidence of their proficient use of the specific instructional practice as evaluated by a rubric introduced within the course. Depending on the instructional skill being developed, the evidence may include student work samples, video from one’s classroom, and/or lesson plans. The courses are designed with a growth mindset, so when the evidence submitted does not show proficiency, feedback is provided so the participant can improve their use of the practice and try again.

What is culturally responsive mathematics teaching?

Culturally responsive mathematics teaching (CRMT) is about rehumanizing mathematics teaching and learning by acknowledging mathematics as a human invention and recognizing every learner as a mathematical thinker. CRMT is for every teacher and every student and has at its core a concern with creating more equitable and inclusive mathematics classrooms. This involves knowing and valuing each student’s ways of thinking and communicating, helping students recognize connections between their learning of mathematics and prior knowledge and experiences, and creating a learning environment in which students are empowered to take ownership of mathematical ideas. CSU Fullerton (CSUF) professor of education Mark Ellis has written a whitepaper about CRMT that can be accessed here.

How do the TEEM microcredential courses align with “best practice” in mathematics education?

The instructional skills identified for each TEEM course are grounded in research about how best to support equitable, meaningful student engagement in mathematics. Among the resources our team used to inform course focus and content development are: Principles to Actions: Ensuring Mathematical Success for All (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics); How Students Learn: Mathematics in the Classroom (National Research Council); 5 Practices for Orchestrating Productive Mathematics Discussions (Smith & Stein, NCTM and Corwin); Strength in Numbers: Collaborative Learning in Secondary Mathematics (Horn, NCTM); and Routines for Reasoning: Fostering the Mathematical Practices in All Students (Lucenta, Kelemanik, & Crieghton, Heinemann).

Who created these microcredential courses?

A team of National Board Certified Teachers of mathematics and university mathematics education faculty created these microcredential courses as part of a National Science Foundation project, Advancing Teachers of Mathematics to Advance Learning for All (ATMALA; NSF ID#1660809). You can visit atmala.weebly.com to learn more about project ATMALA. In terms of faculty review of the course content, Dr. Mark Ellis, professor of education at CSUF, National Board Certified Teacher, and former director for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, has reviewed all content and claims for quality and accuracy. Course descriptions and facilitator qualifications have been reviewed and approved by the CSUF College of Education and CSUF Extension & International Programs. Each course has been piloted with classroom teachers and revised based on their feedback. Questions about the course content should be directed to Dr. Ellis: mellis@fullerton.edu.

What does it mean that the course is online and facilitated?

Each of the TEEM microcredential courses has been designed to be fully online and actively facilitated. All content and activities can be accessed through the CSUF online learning management system (LMS) and a facilitator for each course will guide your engagement, provide feedback, and evaluate your work. The courses are designed to allow for some individual work as well as for engagement with other participants as a way to share ideas, expertise, and insights. The facilitator will make clear up front the expectations for participation.

For what grade level(s) are the microcredential courses relevant?

The teachers that created the TEEM microcredential courses work in grades 6-12 so many of their examples will come from middle school and high school. However, we designed the content and activities to be relevant for elementary teachers of mathematics as well. In fact, many elementary teachers were among those who helped to pilot the courses over a two-year period. If you’re an elementary teacher taking one of the courses, please give us feedback about your experience!

What about permissions for sharing student work and video?

It is the responsibility of each participant to check with her/his site administrator to be sure you are able to share student work samples and/or videos from your classroom. Generally speaking, most school districts have media use policies in place that allow teachers to share student work and classroom video for the purpose of their own professional development. CSUF LMS is password protected and secure with respect to course data. But it is the responsibility of the participant to ensure any materials you share comply with your district and state privacy guidelines.

Do I need to be an expert with online learning to successfully participate in a microcredential?

Absolutely not! Many participants who claim to be computer novices have successfully taken our online courses and shared how easy it was to engage with course content. If you are able to access the internet, navigate to various web sites and send emails with attachments, then you have the necessary skills to take these online courses. You are supported the entire time by both the course facilitator(s) as well as CSUF program team.

Can I receive college credit for completing the TEEM microcredentials?

Each course that is successfully completed will be eligible for one (1) Continuing Education Unit (CEU). To learn more about CEUs, see this web page with information about online professional development courses at CSUF.

Learn more about TEEM

a teacher teaching math in a classroom

You can learn more about the TEEM – including information on dates, cost and registration – on our program page.

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