Supporting Teacher Learning: Lesson-Study Groups with Prospective and Practicing Teachers

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  • 1 Wittenberg University, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in mathematics education
  • 2 Granite School District, Salt Lake City, UT 84115

Supporters of the current reform efforts in mathematics envision ways of teaching that engage students in meaningful tasks and create communities where students can discuss and reflect on their learning. Becoming such a teacher requires learning new pedagogical strategies, knowing how children learn, and reflecting on one's own understanding of mathematical knowledge and practice. As both prospective and practicing teachers participate in a variety of learning experiences, they revise their conceptions of mathematics instruction and develop new forms of practice. Two predominant contexts for teacher learning are preservice teacher education programs and in-service professional development opportunities. However, research demonstrates that both contexts face distinct problems for developing reform-oriented practices (Borko and Putnam 1996). Prospective teachers exposed to reform-oriented pedagogy by university faculty in teacher education programs often discover that teaching practices in student field placements remain extremely traditional and authoritarian (Borko et al. 1992). This failure to provide field experiences that model standards-based practices often encourages traditional teaching routines (Eisenhart et al. 1993; McNamara 1995).

Footnotes

Gina Post research interests include teacher learning and instruction, use of curriculum materials, and the development of communities of learners.

Stephanie Varoz teaches students in a model classroom part of the day and provides professional development and coaching to teachers in Granite District and around the state.

Edited by Kathryn Chval, chvalkb@missouri.edu, and John Lannin, LanninJ@missouri.edu, who prepare future elementary teachers at the University of Missouri–Columbia, MO 65203. “Supporting Teacher Learning” serves as a forum for the exchange of ideas and a source of activities and pedagogical strategies for teacher educators in their day-to-day work with prospective and practicing teachers. Readers are encouraged to send manuscripts appropriate for this section by accessing tcm.msubmit.net. Manuscripts should be six to ten double-spaced typed pages.

Teaching Children Mathematics

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