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Introduction and Implementation Strategies for the Interactive Mathematics Program: A Guide for Teacher-Leaders and Administrators

Costs of Implementation

Any discussion about the implementation of change would be incomplete without considering the issue of cost. It is important to distinguish between the costs of implementing IMP and the costs associated with supporting systemic change.

Systemic change

A decision to implement a program such as IMP should be based on the recognition that both curriculum and pedagogy must change to meet the needs of students. The experience of the Interactive Mathematics Program since 1989 shows that systemic change requires giving teachers full support and training as they make the transition from a traditional, skill-based curriculum to a problem-based and concept-based curriculum, and as they learn both new mathematical content and new instructional strategies.

One component of this support is to give teachers time to share their experiences with each other on a daily basis, for example, by reducing the teaching load by one class period whenever a teacher teaches a curriculum year for the first time. This is a departure from the usual practice of expecting teachers to do the hard work of implementing change in addition to their regular duties and responsibilities.

In private business and industry, it is common practice for employers to pay for training and reeducation when employees are asked to make changes. IMP's experiences around the country attest to the fact that, as in the business model, spending money to provide teachers with time to work together is a worthwhile expenditure and an important ingredient of successful systemic change.

Cost of materials

The cost of the IMP curriculum materials compares favorably with that of typical high school mathematics texts. In addition to the cost of textbooks, schools must make a long-term investment in technology by purchasing class sets of graphing calculators so that each student has one available to use at will in the classroom. Since the IMP curriculum is a hands-on, interactive program, some other manipulatives must also be made available.

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