Facilitation of Mathematics Professional Development: a case study of supporting teachers’ learning of the core practice of leading mathematical discussions

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

Abstract: Though there is a growing knowledge base emerging on Mathematics Professional Development (MPD), little is known about the practice of facilitating teachers learning in MPD. The purpose of this study was to explore the nature of facilitating practice-focused MPD for elementary grades teachers. This study of the practice of facilitation provides greater understanding of the purposes of instructional decisions made by facilitators leading professional learning tasks (PLTs) aimed to assist teachers in learning and enacting a core practice of mathematics instruction. In the context of a MPD project that lead to significant improvements in teachers’ instructional practices, this explanatory case study design examined the instructional decisions of two MPD leaders as they facilitated PLTs designed to support teacher learning about a core practice of mathematics instruction. Qualitative and quantitative analyses of observation, field notes, interviews, and planning guides from the Summer Institute were conducted to understand the nature of MPD facilitation that supports teacher learning of a core practice. Findings indicated that although facilitators use similar instructional moves as teachers in mathematics classrooms, the practice of facilitating practice-focused PLTs is fundamentally different than classroom instruction. Facilitators’ instructional moves when representing the core practice were most similar in their purpose. In PLTs that decomposed the practice and provided opportunities for teachers to approximate the practice, facilitation differed from classroom instruction in its focus and purpose. Results suggest facilitating MPD requires extensive MKT, as well as knowledge of teachers’ context, in order to foster the relationships needed to support teachers’ learning of enacting core instructional practices. The study’s outcomes have implications for leaders making decisions about MPD and teacher educators preparing facilitators to lead MPDs.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2016
Core Practice, Facilitation, Leading Mathematics Discussions, Mathematics Professional Development
Mathematics teachers $x In-service training
Mathematics $x Study and teaching (Elementary)
Effective teaching
Group facilitation

Email this document to