Teacher change and professional development in mathematics education

Heirdsfield, Ann M. & Doig, Shani M. (2010) Teacher change and professional development in mathematics education. In Wright, Jan & (Eds.) Making a Difference : AARE 2010 Conference Proceedings, Melbourne, Australia.

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It is generally agreed that if authentic teacher change is to occur then the tacit knowledge about how and why they act in certain ways in the classroom be accessed and reflected upon. While critical reflection can and often is an individual experience there is evidence to suggest that teachers are more likely to engage in the process when it is approached in a collegial manner; that is, when other teachers are involved in and engaged with the same process. Teachers do not enact their profession in isolation but rather exist within a wider community of teachers. An outside facilitator can also play an active and important role in achieving lasting teacher change. According to Stein and Brown (1997) “an important ingredient in socially based learning is that graduations of expertise and experience exist when teachers collaborate with each other or outside experts” (p. 155). To assist in the effective professional development of teachers, outside facilitators, when used, need to provide “a dynamic energy producing interactive experience in which participants examine and explore the complex components of teaching” (Bolster, 1995, p. 193). They also need to establish rapport with the participating teachers that is built on trust and competence (Hyde, Ormiston, & Hyde, 1994). For this to occur, professional development involving teachers and outside facilitators or researchers should not be a one-off event but an ongoing process of engagement that enables both the energy and trust required to develop. Successful professional development activities are therefore collaborative, relevant and provide individual, specialised attention to the teachers concerned. The project reported here aimed to provide professional development to two Year 3 teachers to enhance their teaching of a new mathematics content area, mental computation. This was achieved through the teachers collaborating with a researcher to design an instructional program for mental computation that drew on theory and research in the field.

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ID Code: 45676
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: No
Keywords: mathematics education, teacher practice, mental computation
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Current > Schools > School of Early Childhood & Inclusive Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 Please consult the authors.
Deposited On: 05 Sep 2011 00:14
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2011 20:25

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