Friday, August 10, 2012

AIBL's Mission

The purpose of this post is to outline the AIBL mission.

The overarching AIBL mission is to support and sustain a growing community of IBL instructors at a national level.  AIBL supports more than just particular IBL courses or a narrowly defined mode of instruction.  AIBL supports individual instructors at all levels of experience.  Indeed, transforming math education will not be achieved without a strong, community working together towards common goals. 

Community: Reform based primarily on new tests or books, without considering larger goals (e.g. effective thinking and advanced problem solving) and environment (e.g. learning culture) are good, necessary steps, but not sufficient.  AIBL's mission, to develop an IBL community, addresses issues of sustainability and continuous professional growth.  Knowing about something is a far cry from being able to do it.  In professions as complex and perhaps daunting as education, a community of support is essential.

Big Tent Philosophy:  AIBL is founded upon the principle of inclusiveness.  There exists a lingering belief that instruction falls into two, distinct categories.  Lecture is category 1, and the Moore Method is category 2.  This is incomplete, and AIBL supports instructors interested in a wide range of inquiry-based methods.  While it is our belief that full IBL courses have the most potential for transformative experiences for students, it is understood that environment, instructor experiences, student body, and other factors affect teaching decisions.  We understand from experience that instructor change is a process that takes time, and encourage instructors to take a responsible, long-term approach to changes in practices.  Go your pace, while at the same time don't wait too long (for your students' sake).  Whatever the situation, instructors who aspire to involve their students in rich mathematical tasks and allow ample opportunities for student collaboration (broadly defined), are welcome and encouraged to participate in AIBL activities.

AIBL is here for the long haul. AIBL is here to help!  Get involved, and get your students doing Mathematics!