Episode 8: Engaging Teachers in the Powerful Combination of Mathematical Modeling and Social Justice: The Flint Water Task
September 11th, 2019 | Season 2 | 26 mins 4 secs
mathematical modeling; mathematics; social justice; teacher education
Two major challenges in mathematics teacher education are developing teacher understanding of (a) culturally responsive, social justice–oriented mathematics pedagogies and (b) mathematical modeling as a content and practice standard of mathematics. Although these challenges may seem disparate, the innovation described in this article is designed to address both challenges in synergistic ways. The innovation focuses on a mathematical modeling task related to the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Through qualitative analysis of instructor field notes, teacher- generated mathematical models, and teacher survey responses, we found that teachers who participated in the Flint Water Task (FWT) engaged in mathematical modeling and critical discussions about social and environmental justice. The evidence suggests that integrating these 2 foci—by using mathematical modeling to investigate and analyze important social justice issues—can be a high-leverage practice for mathematics teacher educators committed to equity-based mathematics education. Implications for integrating social justice and mathematical modeling in preservice and in-service mathematics teacher education are discussed.
August 12th, 2019 | Season 2 | 25 mins 29 secs
field experiences; mentoring; prospective teachers; student teaching; teacher noticing
Teachers and mathematics teacher education scholars have identified field experiences and quality mentoring as influential components of math teacher preparation and development. Yet, quality mentoring is a complex and demanding practice. Providing educative feedback to novices, particularly that which encourages reflection versus evaluation, can be challenging work for mentors. To study the potential of an intervention for providing professional development for mentors, I worked with pairs of mentors and prospective teachers (PSTs) offering Smith’s (2009) noticing and wondering language as a way of structuring mentoring conversations that maintain both descriptive and interpretive analytic stances. Analysis of before and after conversations provided evidence of how mentor-PST pairs adopted noticing and wondering language, and in particular illuminated the ways in which the language structure might support interpretive mentoring conversations for studying teaching. The results suggest that mathematics teacher educators may want to consider what makes wondering challenging work and how to best support wondering in educative mentoring conversations.
August 1st, 2019 | Season 2 | 32 mins 49 secs
coaching framework, coaching practices, mathematics coaching, teaching practices
More than ever, mathematics coaches are being called on to support teachers in developing effective classroom practices. Coaching that influences professional growth of teachers is best accomplished when mathematics coaches are supported to develop knowledge related to the work of coaching. This article details the implementation of the Decision-Making Protocol for Mathematics Coaching (DMPMC) across 3 cases. The DMPMC is a framework that brings together potentially productive coaching activities (Gibbons & Cobb, 2017) and the research-based Mathematics Teaching Practices (MTPs) in Principles to Actions: Ensuring Mathematical Success for All (NCTM, 2014) and aims to support mathematics coaches to purposefully plan coaching interactions. The findings suggest the DMPMC supported mathematics coaches as they worked with classroom teachers while also providing much needed professional development that enhanced their coaching practice.
Episode 5: The Student Discourse Observation Tool: Supporting Teachers in Noticing Justifying and Generalizing
June 12th, 2019 | Season 2 | 24 mins 46 secs
In classrooms, students engage in argumentation through justifying and generalizing. However, these activities can be difficult for teachers to conceptualize and therefore promote in their classrooms. In this article, we present the Student Discourse Observation Tool (SDOT) developed to support teachers in noticing and promoting student justifying and generalizing. The SDOT serves the purpose of (a) focusing teacher noticing on student argumentation during classroom observations, and (b) promoting focused discussion of student discourse in teacher professional learning communities. We provide survey data illustrating that elementary-level teachers who participated in professional development leveraging the SDOT had richer conceptions of justifying and generalizing and greater ability to characterize students’ justifying and generalizing when compared with a set of control teachers. We argue that the SDOT provides both an important focusing lens for teachers and a means to concretize the abstract mathematical activities of justifying and generalizing.