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Learning from Experience — Resources for Learning in Teachers’ Talk about Teaching Judith Warren Little University of California, Berkeley Leiden November.

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Presentation on theme: "Learning from Experience — Resources for Learning in Teachers’ Talk about Teaching Judith Warren Little University of California, Berkeley Leiden November."— Presentation transcript:

1 Learning from Experience — Resources for Learning in Teachers’ Talk about Teaching Judith Warren Little University of California, Berkeley Leiden November 2007

2 Workplace Settings Professional Development

3 How can talk rooted in classroom experience generate teacher learning and improvements in teaching?


5 Pedagogical Reasoning Problem of Practice Yes No

6 Pedagogical Reasoning Problem of Practice Yes No

7 Examples from Two Groups MathematicsEnglish Language

8 “Normalizing” Moves PROBLEM OF PRACTICE CR

9 I’ve got this problem… Don’t worry, it’s normal… So what I had on the agenda…

10 Conversation in the Language Group Lora: What am I doing wrong? Mine are just all like … Patrick: Oh, really? Lora: Yeah, they can stop reading. Margaret: I think it just depends on the class. I tried it last year and it didn’t work as well as it’s going this year. Patrick: It’s a classroom culture thing.

11 You could try… I’ve got this problem… Don’t worry, it’s normal… So what I had on the agenda…

12 Conversation in the Language Group Leigh: The reason that I brought up that I’m having trouble coming up with a memory… [is] if I’m having trouble … one of my 35 kids might also have trouble and I don’t yet know what I would say to that kid. … …And yeah, I really could come up with a half dozen reading experiences but in that first second, I had a blank. And if you’re 14 and you have a blank, it’s hard to get beyond that and so I’m not quite sure what I would do to help that student. Karen: What I am planning on doing to get around that is….

13 I’ve got this problem… Don’t worry, it’s normal… Can you tell us more?

14 “ I started the geoboards today and it- it felt like mayhem? Like, it felt like no one kind of understood. I just had a vision of what it – I thought it should look like and it didn’t look anything like that.” Alice’s Mayhem

15 Alice supplies more detail I was trying to keep students together in their groups, but they, they weren’t staying together. And then… What was happening? So then I wanted to communicate [the mathematical idea] but if I do it in front of class, no one’s paying attention but if I go around to groups, I felt like I wasn’t communicating it to all the students. And re-states her problem It’s just that I have a vision of what group work should look like, and it’s not looking anything like that.

16 ‘Normalizing’ —endemic problems of teaching Guillermo:That would be my fourth block [class]. [laughter] Female:And mine! Jill:But a reality, right? Guillermo:Yeah. Jill:Reality check, is that we all know what it can look like, we all know what we’re striving for. But my God -- we’re just like this all the time. After 10 years, after 2 years, after 5 years, every day is like that because we don’t know what’s walking into our classroom. On a daily basis. Howard:I’ll tell you Alice, I mean I’ve been here a long time. This was the first time I ever used geoboards with an Algebra One class because I was so afraid of how easily they would just go off and play. And the only reason that I attempted it this time was this was our time to do it.

17 PROBLEM OF PRACTICE CR A generative question Guillermo: Alice, can you identify the source of the squirreliness? Like > that they, they wanted to wanted to play with the geoboards but didn’t have time to do it?

18 ‘Alice speculates, specifies…and revises her view of the problem: students may not understand the concept of area Alice: Maybe it was a sense of ––they don’t really have a concept of area at all. …. No, it was like they were just counting the squares the whole time. I kept saying, “Okay, well is there a rectangle there?” and it was like –– that was going beyond for them. Um. So maybe it’s just that the concepts are challenging for them.

19 ‘Alice speculates about an alternative explanation: she got angry and lost control Yeah. I guess there was that sense that by the end? I was like–– it was like the first time that I just felt angry with them - because it felt so –– like I wasn’t in control? that I started to get angry. And part of that is my control issues. And so, I didn’t even know ––by the end I was like, “I want you guys to stay after.” And I didn’t know if I felt good about having them stay after or if that was a good way to handle it, but I just wanted them to know I mean business and we needed to get work done and –– you know? (2 second pause) So.

20 A second invitation… Guillermo:Were they receptive to that?

21 Alice replays her exchange with the students… Alice:Yeah, I mean, they were like (exhales indignantly), “This is not fair!” Jill:laughs Alice:I’m like ( 2 second pause) Others:(laughing) Alice:I mean like. Guillermo:Perfect. Alice: So they stayed after 2 minutes, you know. And I mean that was. It was fine. Jill:Snorting, like holding back a laugh. Guillermo:Yeah, but they’re like dying for those two minutes, right? Like two minutes= Alice:Yeah I mean, it’s like, “Two minutes? Come on!” Others: (laughing) Alice:So.

22 More normalizing…the emotional reality of teaching You really are describing my fourth block. Minus the staying after for 2 minutes. (Alice, others laugh) Because at some point I’m angry enough that I don’t want to SEE them for 2 more minutes! (others laughing).

23 Generalizing an interpretive principle… Carrie:When they get upset and they seem to be off task and acting goofy, it usually is motivated by “I’m so confused and the last thing I want to do is admit I’m confused Alice: Mhm. Carrie: so I’m instead I’m going to find a way to distract myself or distract others so that I don’t have to face the fact that Alice: Mhm. Carrie:I don’t know how to do something.

24 Generalizing a teaching response… Carrie:Um. So I always try to sympathize. I’ll feel myself being mad, like “You guys aren’t working! What are you doing?” And then I like try to take a step back and say, “Okay. What are they afraid of? Alice: Mhm. Carrie: “How can I make them feel comfortable with that fear?” Alice: Mhm. Carrie: “What can I say to them or what can I do for them to make them feel (pause) like this is a safe place.”

25 Generalizing a stance to teacher learning in and from practice… Carrie: And that usually takes me somewhere where ––it never is fully successful—but I see some successes and then that translates into other days that become more successful.

26 PROBLEM OF PRACTICE CR Revisions Generative questions Generalizations Specifications Generative questions

27 Comparing Group Routines Routine for:Language GroupMath Group Sharing lessons Walk-through“Following” & role play Support re Difficult classes Sympathy; out-of-class advice Observation & Consultation Coordinating teaching Lesson pacing (same lessons on given day) Discuss student progress & teaching decisions Working together1.5 hours/week Professional Development IndividualCollective

28 Comparing Group Resources ResourceLanguage GroupMath Group Ideological Socio-cultural & cognitive Material Organizational Interaction Broad goal agreement; local disagreements Sympathy; out-of-class advice Early stage curriculum development; common tasks but weak link to goals Autonomy without strategy Division of labor; weak external ties, individual autonomy Shared value commitments Common perspective & language Rich, coherent curriculum, student work, “lab gear” Autonomy and strategy Internal leadership, external ties, collective norms

29 What are the implications for practice? Introduce routines and other resources for focusing on student experience, student thinking, student experience Cultivate external ties and collective participation in professional development Foster norms and relationships consistent with “safe” public talk about complex problems of teaching and learning Create a more generous ratio of in-class to out-of class time

30 Connecting research and practice An entire industry in the U.S. has sprung up to promote “teacher community” and specific practices like “lesson study”

31 Connecting research and practice The good news: help in connecting research to practice The bad news: inflated claims about research, and research that is a weak fit with the needs of practice

32 How might research contribute? Deepen and broaden workplace studies to focus on actual practice of teacher-to-teacher interaction — and the formation of teacher community Remedy the disciplinary divides — do more to integrate the contributions from psychology and organizational sociology Forge ongoing research-practice partnerships (and otherwise figure out more about the research-practice connection!)

33 Learning from Experience — Resources for Learning in Teachers’ Talk about Teaching Judith Warren Little University of California, Berkeley Leiden November 2007

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