Skip to content

On doing the same problem – first lessons and relentless consistency: Refereed paper accepted for ICMI 22: Task Design in Mathematics Education Theme E Study Conference

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTask Design in Mathematics Education: Proceedings of ICMI Study 22
Place of PublicationOxford, UK
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)978-2-7466-6554-5
StatePublished - Oct 2013


In this paper, we illustrate, through stories from practice, the view that in designing and implementing tasks, teachers have, as a base for decision-making, the classroom cultures they have already established with their students. These cultures are developed over time from the first lessons with a new group. Teachers, and curriculum developers and researchers working with teachers could be seen as leaders of change, the teachers of the learning of their students. In the leadership of change literature, Fullan (2008) has developed what he calls ‘six secrets of change’ that shift the focus away from detailed planning to learning through reflective action. In Secret 4, ‘Learning is the work’, he talks about addressing ‘core goals and tasks with relentless consistency’ (p. 76). So, once a culture in a classroom has been established, through the relentless consistency of practices, and children know what to do to support their learning, this, according to Fullan, frees ‘up energy for working on innovative practices’ (p. 79). Evidence for establishing classroom practices through relentless consistency that support the continued learning of both students and teachers is given through observations of and interviews with teachers discussing the first lessons of a topic or with a new group of students. For these first lessons, the teachers often use tasks that they are familiar with and have used over many years for their first lesson with a new group to establish ways of working in their classrooms.

    Research areas

  • Teacher change, mathematics education, task design, teacher decision-making, first lessons

View research connections

Related faculties, schools or groups