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Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group Lorraine Males, Michigan State University.

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Presentation on theme: "Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group Lorraine Males, Michigan State University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group Lorraine Males, Michigan State University

2 Professional Development 2Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group ticket to reform (Wilson & Berne, 1999, p. 173) little empirical evidence of the effects of PD on practice or on student learning (Elmore, 2002)

3 Professional Development 3Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group We still do not know how teachers learn from professional development

4 Professional Development 4Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group Common thread in highly regarded projects was theprivileging of teachers interaction with one another (Wilson & Berne, 1999, p. 195). learning is a collaborative activity and educators learn more powerfully in concert with others who are struggling with the same problems (Elmore, 2002, p. 8). Highly regarded projects all had similar conceptions of professional development and were aiming for the development of something akin to Lords (1994) critical colleagueship (p. 195).

5 Research Questions 5Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group Is it possible to identify aspects of critical colleagueship exhibited by mathematics teachers by observation (or listening to their talk)? What are some of the ways that critical colleagueship is exhibited by the teachers in this study group?

6 Theoretical Framework 6Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group Critical Colleagueship For a broader transformation, collegiality will need to support a critical stance toward teaching. This means more than simply sharing ideas or supporting ones colleagues in the change process. It means confronting traditional practice – the teachers own and that of his or her colleagues – with an eye toward wholesale revision (Lord, 1994, p. 192).

7 Theoretical Framework 7Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group Critical Colleagueship For a broader transformation, collegiality will need to support a critical stance toward teaching. This means more than simply sharing ideas or supporting ones colleagues in the change process. It means confronting traditional practice – the teachers own and that of his or her colleagues – with an eye toward wholesale revision (Lord, 1994, p. 192).

8 Critical Colleagueship 8Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group Creating and sustaining productive disequilibrium through self reflection, collegial dialogue, and on-going critique.

9 Critical Colleagueship 9Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group Creating and sustaining productive disequilibrium through self reflection, collegial dialogue, and on-going critique.

10 Critical Colleagueship 10Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group Embracing fundamental intellectual virtues. Among these are openness to new ideas, willingness to reject weak practices or flimsy reasoning when faced with countervailing evidence and sound arguments, accepting responsibility for acquiring and using relevant information in the construction of technical arguments, willingness to seek out the best ideas or the best knowledge from within the subject-matter communities, greater reliance on organized and deliberate investigations rather than learning by accident, and assuming collective responsibility for creating a professional record of teachers' research and experimentation.

11 Critical Colleagueship 11Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group Embracing fundamental intellectual virtues. Among these are openness to new ideas, willingness to reject weak practices or flimsy reasoning when faced with countervailing evidence and sound arguments, accepting responsibility for acquiring and using relevant information in the construction of technical arguments, willingness to seek out the best ideas or the best knowledge from within the subject-matter communities, greater reliance on organized and deliberate investigations rather than learning by accident, and assuming collective responsibility for creating a professional record of teachers' research and experimentation.

12 Critical Colleagueship 12Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group Increasing the capacity for empathetic understanding (placing oneself in a colleague's shoes). That is, understanding a colleague's dilemma in the terms he or she understands it.

13 Critical Colleagueship 13Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group Increasing the capacity for empathetic understanding (placing oneself in a colleague's shoes). That is, understanding a colleague's dilemma in the terms he or she understands it.

14 Critical Colleagueship 14Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group Developing and honing the skills and attributes associated with negotiation, improved communication, and the resolution of competing interests.

15 Critical Colleagueship 15Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group Increasing teachers' comfort with high levels of ambiguity and uncertainty, which will be regular features of teaching for understanding.

16 Critical Colleagueship 16Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group Achieving collective generativity – "knowing how to go on" (Wittgenstein, 1958) as a goal of successful inquiry and practice.

17 Participants 17Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group Two university researchers (one faculty member and one graduate student other than myself) Eight middle-grades (grades 6 – 10) mathematics teacher-researchers from seven different schools in one Midwestern state who all volunteered to be part of this professional development project

18 Participants 18Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group TRGrSchool SettingCertificationYrs TeachCurriculum Cara6Rural, MSElem21NSF reform Robert6Urban, MSElem7Trad Stacey7Rural, MSElem/MAT17NSF reform Gwen8Urban, Title I, MSSec18Trad Kate8Suburban, MSSec/MS14NSF reform Holly8Urban, Gifted, HSSec9Trad Mike8Urban, MSSec/MSM14Trad Owen10Suburban, HSSec/MAT2Trad

19 Context 19Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group All teachers and the university researchers engaged in a long-term NSF-funded project (PI: Herbel-Eisenmann) that involved studying teachers engaged in action research to improve middle-grades mathematics classroom discourse.

20 Project Timeline 20Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group Baseline Data Collection Aug. 2005 – May 2006Aug. 2006 – May 2007 Study Group Aug. 2007 – May 2008Aug. 2008 Mapping & Reflecting on Personal Beliefs Identifying & Reflecting on Performance Gaps Pilot StudyCycles of Action ResearchA.R. cont… Report on Activity Structures & Turn Length Analytic Memos Phase IIPhase IIIPhase IVPhase V

21 Data Analysis 21Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group Transcripts from all action research meetings (19 in total) were reviewed and summarized in broad terms using codes to reflect the topic of discourse

22 Data Analysis 22Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group Ten meetings were chosen to be analyzed meetings came from the beginning, middle, and end of this phase meetings involved the teachers sharing their own work with each other

23 Data Analysis 23Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group Each of these meetings was then: Broken into episodes by topic or theme of the talk These episodes where the: broken up into question/advice blocks

24 Data Analysis 24Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group Finally each question/advice block was coded for: the initiator and receiver the nature of the question/advice aspects of critical colleagueship

25 Findings 25Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group First, it was possible to identify aspects of critical colleagueship by examining transcripts form these project meetings.

26 Findings 26Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group First, it was possible to identify aspects of critical colleagueship in the talk by reading transcripts of the meetings Some aspects may have been more difficult than others.

27 Interaction Patterns 27Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group Three interaction patterns emerged in the data: praising colleague advising colleague challenging colleague

28 Interaction Patterns 28Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group Interaction Pattern CharacteristicsExamples Praising (frequent) Expressed praise; Involved little questioning; usually directed at the teacher- researcher presenting I really like… … a really neat strategy advising (frequent) Offer solicited or unsolicited advice; involved little questioning; often in the form of a story about their own experience; One of the things I used to do… Can you try….

29 Interaction Patterns 29Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group Interaction Pattern CharacteristicsExamples challenging (not frequent) Involved elaboration, probing, and challenging questions Occurred over multiple turns How are you going to... What do you mean…. So, you never actually…

30 Challenging Colleague Example 30Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group Gwen: When you are teaching them distance, you just taught as Pythagorean theorem. So, you never actually gave them a problem where they did this? Owen: Oh no, we did, there are homework problems like this. Gwen: In class, did you show them using Pythagorean theorem to solve the problem? Owen: Yes. That's the way we did them. Gwen: So you couldn't say, that a kid said, oh this is how you did it, so that's how I'm supposed to do it. So how is that different than, I know the distance formula, so that's how Im going to do it?

31 Challenging Colleague Example 31Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group Gwen: When you are teaching them distance, you just taught as Pythagorean theorem. So, you never actually gave them a problem where they did this? Owen: Oh no, we did, there are homework problems like this. Gwen: In class, did you show them using Pythagorean theorem to solve the problem? Owen: Yes. That's the way we did them. Gwen: So you couldn't say, that a kid said, oh this is how you did it, so that's how I'm supposed to do it. So how is that different than, I know the distance formula, so that's how Im going to do it?

32 Challenging Colleague Example 32Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group Gwen: When you are teaching them distance, you just taught as Pythagorean theorem. So, you never actually gave them a problem where they did this? Owen: Oh no, we did, there are homework problems like this. Gwen: In class, did you show them using Pythagorean theorem to solve the problem? Owen: Yes. That's the way we did them. Gwen: So you couldn't say, that a kid said, oh this is how you did it, so that's how I'm supposed to do it. So how is that different than, I know the distance formula, so that's how Im going to do it?

33 Challenging Colleague Example 33Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group Gwen: When you are teaching them distance, you just taught as Pythagorean theorem. So, you never actually gave them a problem where they did this? Owen: Oh no, we did, there are homework problems like this. Gwen: In class, did you show them using Pythagorean theorem to solve the problem? Owen: Yes. That's the way we did them. Gwen: So you couldn't say, that a kid said, oh this is how you did it, so that's how I'm supposed to do it. So how is that different than, I know the distance formula, so that's how Im going to do it?

34 Critical Colleagueship within the Interaction Patterns 34Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group Interaction Pattern Critical ColleagueshipExamples Praising & Advising Openness to new ideasneat strategy and one Im gonna take Im willing to try them now… Empathetic UnderstandingI guess I relate to…thats the exact concepts I work with Self-reflectionand just using materials… and I was able to understand

35 Critical Colleagueship within the Interaction Patterns 35Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group Interaction Pattern Critical ColleagueshipExamples Challenging Rejecting flimsy reasoning by providing countervailing evidence it is hard to justify that… So how can you... So you couldnt …

36 Questions 36Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group Is it possible that other aspects of critical colleagueship were being enacted by the group, but these were just difficult to observe? It seemed that the teacher-researchers engaged as critical colleagues mostly around one teacher- researchers work. Why is this? How do issues of status impact this development?

37 Questions 37Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group How does the context of talk around mathematics allow for this development? How do different professional development contexts allow for this development?

38 Future Directions 38Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group Expanding the analysis to examine both the action research phase and the and reading group phase that came before it Looking more critically at the university- researchers and their role in this development Possibility of examining other populations – such as preservice teachers

39 Acknowledgements 39Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group Id like to thank all the teacher- researchers and university-researchers who participated in the project and my colleagues at Michigan State University

40 Thank You 40Confronting Practice: Critical Colleagueship in a Mathematics Teacher Study Group Questions? Lorraine Males Michigan State University maleslor@msu.edu


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