The Elementary Mathematics Laboratory (EML) provides educators with an opportunity to deeply engage with public teaching while developing specific professional skills. This unique setting is structured to make it possible for educators, policymakers, and education advocates to engage directly in the close study of teaching practice.
The EML is taught by Deborah Loewenberg Ball, an experienced elementary school teacher, faculty member at the University of Michigan School of Education and the director of TeachingWorks. The class enrolls up to 30 upper elementary students, who are diverse ethnically, racially, economically, and linguistically. Many of our students have struggled and developed a lack of confidence with mathematics in school. The instruction in the EML seeks to turn this around and to set them on a path to success in school mathematics and is specially designed to develop strong and positive academic identities in our students. In the afternoons, each student is paired with a University of Michigan undergraduate who is majoring in engineering, mathematics, or education and who serves as the student's tutor. Please click here for more information about the tutoring program.
Over the past decade, Dr. Ball has developed skills of teaching in public that enable observers to analyze teaching. This public teaching is the centerpiece of the EML professional development program. Workshop attendees start each day with Dr. Ball and the instructional team in a “pre-brief” session before the class, in which they examine, discuss, and refine the day's lesson plans and strategies for the instruction. Attendees then observe the instruction in the classroom or remote viewing rooms. The group gathers after the class with Dr. Ball to debrief the class, ask questions, and review daily student work before attending afternoon workshops. Past attendees have remarked that the laboratory class and associated professional development workshops have "transformed the way they analyze (their own) teaching" and "have empowered their work as a teacher and renewed their enthusiasm for the classroom."
Due to campus construction our next Elementary Mathematics Laboratory will take place in the summer of 2017.