Should elementary math be taught by specialists?

This last June, I was asked to be a part of a podcast called Debate Math.  It wasn’t just a podcast where I would have answered questions or participated in discussions.  It was a podcast which I had to do my homework.  The question I would be debating is whether or not elementary math should be taught by specialists rather than generalists.   My partner in crime was none other than THE Mike Flynn!!  We were assigned to argue the pro side of having specialists in the elementary classrooms.

Both Mike and I did our homework and researched articles, studies, and other papers written on the subject. Very little research had been done in this area, but the few papers I found weren’t encouraging.  Luckily Mike and I had plenty to say.  Added bonus was Mike’s experience in 2nd grade doing a teamed teaching approach.  My experience as middle school math teacher but also an elementary 6th grade teacher also came in handy.  We wrote our introductions and our claims.  Lights, camera, action….and the record button was on.  Our side debated more for teachers while the other side debated more for children.  


What I liked about the experience was that there weren’t any winners and there weren’t any losers. There was much compromise or meeting in the middle.   This was a healthy safe way of having conversations with colleagues.  Everyone had their 2 cents to put in.  The moderators questions (Chris Luzniak and Rob Baier) asked thoughtful, intriguing questions that continued to push our thinking and further the topic.  

Should elementary math be specialized or departmentalized?  You can decide for yourself.  Check out episode 9 on Debate Math.  Or you can view it on YouTube. 

Until next time,


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