What Is Cognitively Guided Instruction In Mathematics

Cognitively guided instruction is a unique approach to teaching mathematics that capitalizes on students’ inherent ability to understand numbers and solve problems.

Also known as CGI, this student-centered approach to teaching math has been around for more than thirty years and is primarily incorporated into elementary school teaching. It’s important to note that cognitively guided instruction isn’t curriculum. Rather, it’s a philosophy that there is no singular “right way” to teach mathematics. Instead, to bring out the best in teaching (and learning), educators should rely on their own judgement to inform how they teach mathematics.

At its heart, cognitively guide instruction meets students where they are in their learning, invites them to build on that knowledge, encourages them to collaborate with other students, and develops them into problem-solvers.

In some respects, cognitively guided instruction is a radical departure from traditional mathematics teaching. When implemented properly, CGI can empower students to come up with ideas and view themselves as good at math. The practice of CGI goes far deeper than simply teaching a concept, putting math problems on the board, asking students to call out answers, and then deeming those responses as correct or incorrect. CGI can turn “math haters” in to “math lovers,” by giving students permission to not know the answer, and to enjoy the process of figuring out math problems.

In some ways, CGI is natural and intuitive, and in other ways, it’s an advanced concept that can be challenging to implement without training and preparation.

Online Professional Development Course On Cognitively Guided Instruction For Math
If you’d like to learn how to use cognitively guided instruction, we offer an online professional development course on how to integrate CGI into teaching mathematics in elementary school. In this 1-credit online course, you’ll learn what CGI is and how to implement it in your math instruction. The online course (which is approved for LAUSD salary points and is available for graduate level credit) covers a variety of topics, including specific examples of CGI in math, how to align CGI with CCSS (Common Core State Standards), the benefits of CGI, and more.

Click here to learn more about our 100% online cognitively guided instruction for mathematics course.