Academic journal article Journal of Teacher Education

Designing Video-Based Professional Development for Mathematics Teachers in Low-Performing Schools

Academic journal article Journal of Teacher Education

Designing Video-Based Professional Development for Mathematics Teachers in Low-Performing Schools

Article excerpt

Teacher educators have been using videos as learning tools for teachers since the late 1960s and early 1970s. At that time, publications primarily reported results from microteaching studies. These articles summarized teachers' learning from watching brief clips of classroom instruction that featured specific instructional techniques to be modeled (among others, Acheson & Zigler, 1971; Allen & Clark, 1967; Limbacher, 1971; Ward, 1970). More recently, with the advent of digital technologies, video has often been embedded in complex multimedia databases and accompanied by a variety of instructional materials (e.g., transcripts, handouts the videotaped teacher gave to her students, samples of students' work from the videotaped lesson). In addition, the learning objective for teachers has shifted from learning specific instructional techniques to deepening pedagogical content knowledge and developing reflective knowledge of teaching and learning (Santagata, Gallimore, & Stigler, 2005). As a result, more recent publications focus on reporting teacher progress in identifying important instructional moments, analyzing student thinking, and reflecting on content (Davies & Walker, 2005; Jacob, Lamb, Philipp, Schappelle, & Burke, 2007; Lampert & Ball, 1998; Santagata, Zannoni, & Stigler, 2007).

Although limitations still exist in the methodologies used to gather evidence of teacher learning from analyzing videotaped instruction--in most cases restricted to qualitative studies of small groups of teachers--evidence of the positive effects on teachers' overall understanding of the teaching-learning process, knowledge of subject-matter specific instructional strategies, and understanding of student thinking is rapidly increasing (among others, Borko, Jacobs, Eiteljorg, Pittman, 2008; Jacob et al., 2007; Santagata et al., 2007; Sherin & Han, 2004; Sherin & van Es, 2005; van Es & Sherin, 2008; van Es & Sherin, 2002). In particular, authors of recent studies praise the use of video for allowing in-depth analyses of students' learning in action--analyses that teachers would not be able to do while teaching a lesson (Clarke & Hollingsworth, 2000; LeFevre, 2004; Sherin, 2004; Sherin & van Es, 2005; van Es & Sherin, 2002). Less frequent in the literature are detailed descriptions of questions and tasks professional development providers use to guide teachers' analyses of videos. If we are to understand the learning processes in which teachers engage when analyzing video and what specifically helps them to acquire knowledge that is useful in teaching, we need to make public the detailed descriptions of questions and tasks that accompany our video-based professional development programs. In a recent American Educational Research Association symposium on the use of video to study teaching, Hilda Borko (2007) called for collaboration among researchers to share the specifics of materials and tasks used with teachers.

The Video Cases for Mathematics Professional Development, developed by Seago, Mumme, and Branca (2004), provide a good example of video-based material accompanied by questions that structure teachers' analyses. The CD includes videos of real classroom teaching, and the accompanying guide assists teachers in exploring the topic of linear functions as well pedagogical strategies to foster student conceptual understanding, such as choosing and using various representations and interpreting and responding to students' methods and errors. The Supporting the Transition from Arithmetic to Algebraic Reasoning Project is another example. This project describes in detail a professional development model, the "Problem Solving Cycle," that involves teachers in sharing their practices with their colleagues through video and other records of practice (Borko et al., 2008; Koellner et al., 2007). A third example is Sherin and van Es's (2008) research on teacher learning in the context of video clubs, in which the authors describe in detail teacher and facilitator's roles in discussions around video clips of classroom interactions. …

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