Teacher's Professional Development and the Elementary Mathematics Classroom: Bringing Understanding to Light

Teacher's Professional Development and the Elementary Mathematics Classroom: Bringing Understanding to Light

Teacher's Professional Development and the Elementary Mathematics Classroom: Bringing Understanding to Light

Teacher's Professional Development and the Elementary Mathematics Classroom: Bringing Understanding to Light

Synopsis

This book explores the learning that takes a teacher--elementary school teachers focusing on mathematics--from a traditional teaching practice to one that is focused on the ideas and understanding that students and teachers have of the subject matter.

Excerpt

A handful of truisms about professional development currently curry favor among teachers and policymakers. Professional development should be long term, giving teachers a chance to go in and out of their classrooms, try things out with their students, and subsequently reflect on what they have learned. Professional development should focus on the concrete products of student work, grounding teacher' work in that of their students. Professional development should pay equal attention to developing teacher' content and pedagogical knowledge. These seem such sensible assertions. Although there is some research that supports these claims, scholarship in teacher learning is characterized by more rhetoric than empiricism.

With this extended and finely detailed description of and reflection on the work of teachers in Developing Mathematical Ideas seminars, Sophia Cohen makes an important contribution to our empirical and conceptual understanding of teacher learning. While reinforcing many contemporary truisms, Cohen does so much more: Taking us inside of those seminars and inside of the participant' classrooms, she shows us the complexities inherent in teacher' attempts to learn about mathematics, about students, about teaching, and about changing their teaching. Her thick descriptions of teacher learning allow us to understand both the teacher' perspectives and the internal workings of professional development. By bringing teachers' understandings to light, she helps us learn about teacher learning. Let us consider some of the lessons readers might take from this sojourn.

One lesson involves the courage it takes to engage in genuine professional development—that is, in professional development intended to . . .

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