Math instruction should be a time where students work together to problem solve, a time when students are given the opportunity and encouragement to grapple with real world problems, to try new methods and even develop their own methods. Gone are the days of a teacher at the blackboard (whiteboard) telling students how to complete each new problem which was followed up by a page of practice problems. In PNA classrooms, the teacher guides students in developing a deep understanding of concepts, proficiency with key skills and the ability to solve complex and novel problems.
• Teachers guide the learning process in their classrooms and manage the classroom environment through a variety of instructional approaches directly tied to the mathematics content and to students' needs
• Learning mathematics is maximized when teachers focus on mathematical thinking and reasoning. Progressively more formal reasoning and mathematical proof should be integrated into the mathematics program as a student continues in school
However, isn't there a time where you just need to learn your multiplication facts? Yes, there is. Again referring to NCTM's core beliefs, "computational skills and number concepts are essential components of the mathematics curriculum, and a knowledge of estimation and mental computation are more important than ever." The difference comes into play in how these facts are introduced, applied, and understood. Students in PNA classrooms know their facts but they also understand what multiplication truly means and when and when not to use the method.
Lower and middle school curricula
At PNA we carefully chose our lower and middle school math programs, Bridges in Mathematics and College Preparatory Math. Both of these programs' philosophy and methodologies match PNA's and NCTM's. We are proud of the graduates of these programs and our classrooms. All have moved on to advanced levels in high school and have found success. Many students miss the more interactive approach of PNA's programs as most are in more traditional curricular program. However, we know that they have a solid foundation so that they will continue to excel in any situation that requires math skills.