Exploring teachers’ learning of instructional practice in professional development

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

Abstract: Decades of research on mathematics teaching have identified fundamental instructional practices that promote deep learning of mathematics for all students. In contrast with more traditional and direct approaches to teaching, these core instructional practices of mathematics instruction foster student engagement, understanding, and collaboration and represent a significant shift in the practice of teaching for many mathematics teachers. Though recent efforts by mathematics teacher educators have focused on assisting novices to learn core practices in teacher preparation programs, there is little research on the ways teachers learn to enact these practices in professional development. The purpose of this study is to understand teachers’ learning in mathematics professional development focused on the core practice of leading mathematics discussions and changes in their classroom enactments of the practice. This multiple case study investigates four teachers’ trajectories of participation as they engaged in 108 hours of professional development designed to assist teachers in learning to lead mathematics discussions. Video recordings of professional development sessions and classroom enactments, interviews, and teacher journals were analyzed to understand how these four teachers’ patterns of participation in the professional development related to their practice of leading discussions in their classrooms. Though each of the four teachers’ participation over time was unique, findings indicated that three teachers’ trajectories of participation, which resulted in an alignment between learning in the professional development and in classroom enactments, centralized student learning and led to full membership in the emerging professional development community. In contrast, a persistent focus on her own learning that characterized the fourth teacher’s trajectory did not enable her to align her learning and practice, and yielded only marginal participation in the community. These results suggest that teachers with established professional identities and strong commitments to student learning were able to transform their identities as reform mathematics teachers, negotiate multi-membership, and span boundaries across perspectives. The study’s implications for district leaders making decisions about mathematics professional development, teacher educators working with teachers to improve their practice of leading mathematics discussions, and researchers examining teacher learning and instructional change are discussed.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2016
Elementary mathematics, Identity, Leading mathematics discussions, Participation, Professional development
Mathematics teachers $x In-service training
Elementary school teachers $x In-service training
Mathematics $x Study and teaching (Elementary)

Email this document to