University of Illinois at Chicago
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Teacher Learning Through Reflective Inquiry: Increasing Productive Disciplinary Discourse in Mathematics Classrooms

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posted on 2023-07-02, 03:35 authored by Kathleen PitvorecKathleen Pitvorec
This case presentation concerns the learning processes of three mathematics teachers who shifted their instructional practices to increase opportunities for productive disciplinary discourse among students. The AARTS coding system allowed us to identify and describe how discourse patterns evolved concomitant with teachers’ engagement in a collaborative reflective inquiry process with researchers over the course of three years. As teachers shifted their instructional practices, students took on increased agency for guiding their own learning and the authority for what counts as important mathematical ideas was distributed across curriculum, teacher, and students. As such, new possibilities for knowledge building opened up in the community. Three sixth grade teachers using the Connected Math Project curriculum (Lappan et al., 2014) participated in this two-year research project that was part of a larger project (XXX Project) focused on formative assessment practices and algebra learning trajectories (Authors, 2020). The teachers participated in professional learning activities aimed at strengthening teachers’ mathematics content knowledge and supporting teachers in unpacking student engagement in and analyzing student work related to students’ progression through algebra learning trajectories. Concurrently, the three teachers participated in a co-constructed reflective inquiry process proximal to the teachers’ practice (Stein, 2021) where teachers and researchers identified and explored salient problems of practice (Lampert, 2001). Researcher/teacher dyads collaboratively reflected on teaching practices in two contexts: 1. Lesson observations where dyads would meet to discuss lesson planning before the teacher taught a lesson and then debrief together after the lesson implementation to review notable moments related to unpacking and understanding the success or failure of opportunities for productive disciplinary discourse. 2. Viewing of selections from videotapes of previously observed lessons. Over time, dyad discussions about lesson implementations became more focused on problematic moments from a lesson or problems of practice related to getting students talking about their own ideas. These discussions often led to new instructional practices designed to address the identified problems and then to the dyad further reflecting on the results of those practices, including revisiting lesson videotapes to analyze related experiences. As teachers implemented new instructional practices designed to address identified problems of practice, students began to take up agency over their own learning. In addition, the authority for what counts as important mathematical ideas and from where mathematical knowledge is derived also shifted in these classrooms. The AARTS coding system allowed us to represent and further explore the shifts manifest in the discourse patterns resulting from teacher and student turns of talk over time.

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