Educators Explore Joy and Equity in Mathematics at Bank Street Professional Learning Event

When math education is viewed as an opportunity for student thinking rather than student performance, it deepens content knowledge, the ability to facilitate meaningful instruction, and the understanding that all people are math people. 

To help educators employ this approach, the School System Partnerships & Programs (SSPP) team at Bank Street Education Center and the Leadership in Mathematics Education Program at Bank Street Graduate School of Education co-hosted the first-ever Summer Math @ Bank Street event on August 9. The professional learning opportunity provided 18 K-5 educators, coaches, school leaders, and graduate students from New York City and nearby areas the opportunity to explore the essential components of cultivating joy and equity in mathematics education. 

“We designed the math institute for educators to engage in the joy of math through hands-on learning and reflective activities that highlighted Bank Street’s collaborative and generative approach to teaching and learning,” said Robin Hummel ED.D., Co-Director, Online Teaching and Learning, and Program Director, Leadership in Mathematics Education, Graduate School of Education. “The event was a wonderful new opportunity for the Education Center and Graduate School to collaborate and facilitate a space for attendees to deepen their understanding of how to support all students in their math exploration, skill development, and comprehension.”

The event, held in person at Bank Street, began with a keynote presentation by Nancy Buck, GSE ’18, a graduate of the Leadership in Mathematics Education Program and current adjunct instructor for the program. During her talk, Buck discussed her personal journey with math and shared insights on the concept of math identity, which relates to how one views themselves as a math learner and plays an important role in students’ engagement and success in math.

Educators working on a group activity at the Summer Math @ Bank Street professional learning event, August 2023After the keynote, attendees embraced their “learner’s stance” as they actively participated in several immersive workshops, including number puzzles, problem-solving in a base-five system, and a community walk designed to raise awareness of how students’ own communities can enrich the math discovery happening in their classrooms.

During the workshops, participants were exposed to teaching and learning practices that guide math education beyond memorization and procedural learning and learned about the essential elements of an equitable and joyful math classroom. 

Activities and group discussions demonstrated how to combine teaching abstract concepts with meaningful learning opportunities to help students build and understand identity, develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and grow community connections through play, creativity, and collaboration. Attendees had the opportunity to experience learning math in this way and discovered that planning a math lesson involves doing the math itself, as we cannot teach what we do not understand.

“We were delighted to host this event and share Bank Street’s student-centered approach to teaching and learning to empower educators with the tools they need to enhance children’s learning in math and create a deeper and more meaningful educational experience,” said Davia Brown Franklyn, ED.D, Senior Director of Partnerships, School System Partnerships & Programs. “We hope to host more events in the future and offer engaging workshops and resources for educators to continue to build on their skills through professional learning.”