Elementary teachers’ participation in mathematics professional learning tasks

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Wendy Deneen Rich (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Peter Holt Wilson

Abstract: Recent work by some researchers has involved decomposing the profession of teaching into core practices that can be discussed and accessed by novice teachers that can help them gain expertise in these practices. Core practices are central to the work of teaching, support student learning, and are fundamental to developing complex practice. Evidence is beginning to emerge on the benefits of taking a core practice approach to preservice education; however,; little is known about how practicing teachers might improve their teaching through professional development taking a similar approach. The primary purpose of this study is to understand teachers’ learning in mathematics professional development focused on the core practice of leading mathematics discussions and their changes in classroom enactments of the practice. As a retrospective analysis of one cycle of a design experiment, the study investigated 13 K-5 teachers’ learning and enactments of the core practice of leading mathematics discussions as they engaged in practice-focused professional learning tasks that were a part of 108 hours of professional development designed to become increasingly more aligned with classroom practice in terms of authenticity and complexity. Qualitative and quantitative analyses of video recordings of professional development sessions, classroom observation, field notes, interviews, and teacher reflections were conducted to understand the nature of professional learning tasks that supports teacher learning the core practice of leading mathematics discussions. An analysis of teachers’ participation in the professional development suggests that the professional learning tasks designed for teachers to value mathematics discussions provided opportunities for teachers to value and appreciate the practice of leading mathematics discussions, develop deeper understandings of the instructional moves and challenge their existing classroom practice. Results suggest that over time, teachers formed a community of practice marked by the shared practice of a framework for leading discussions learned in the mathematics professional development to make sense of mathematics teaching and learning and making their own practice public for collective reflection. Findings from the study indicate that teacher enactments of leading mathematics discussions in the classrooms were marked by an increased presence of probing and pressing moves focused on student mathematical thinking. Outcomes have implications for district leaders making decisions about professional development, teacher educators working with teachers to enhance their instructional practice in professional development settings, and researchers examining teacher learning and instructional change.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2016
Core Practices, Elementary, Leading Mathematics Discussions, Professional Development, Teacher Learning
Mathematics teachers $x In-service training
Elementary school teachers $x In-service training
Mathematics $x Study and teaching (Elementary)
Communication in mathematics

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