Academic journal article Journal of Education and Learning

Bridging the Gap between Theory and Practice by the Use of Iterative Processes

Academic journal article Journal of Education and Learning

Bridging the Gap between Theory and Practice by the Use of Iterative Processes

Article excerpt


The aim of this study is to study learning the positional ten base notation by the increase of students' test scores during the learning study process. Five teachers, one researcher and 53 students participated. Three research lessons in three different groups of students were conducted. The improvement in the third lesson (C) correlates with the more developed theoretical based assumptions the design is made, which resulted in a pattern of variation that stronger pointed out the aspect needed to discern to understand the object of learning in a new and more developed way. The differences in the third research lesson (C) was significant** p=0.005 while the differences in research lessons A and ? were not significant.

Keywords: base 10 positional notation, compulsory school instruction, action research, learning study, teacher development

1. Introduction

1.1 Teachers 'Professional Development

Research on teachers' professional development usually aims to support meaningful and sustainable shifts in practice, which Butler, Novak Lauscher, Jarvis-Selinger & Beckingham (2004) claim requires analytical theories on learning. Such shifts can be made by the use of models such as the iterative process developed by Butler et al. (2004). The model includes concrete activities and access to mentors during a period of two years. Furthermore, the professional development usually aims to have some kind of impact on student outcomes. In a study on the impact of school leadership on pupil outcomes, one of the perceived challenges found is to "personalize the learning experience of the students" (Day, Sammons, Hopkins, Harris, Leithwood, Gu, Brown, Ahtaridou & Kington, 2009, p. 193). This requires certain knowledge about what is possible to be aware of in a learning situation, and it is hard to see what students are learning. Nuthall (2004) says:

I have already made the point that teachers cannot be aware of critical elements in the teaching-learning process in their own classrooms unless they already have a clear understanding of what to look for and have additional ways of observing or recording the experiences of individual students. Working on their own, teachers can only see the classroom through their own eyes and can only occasionally see whatstudents are learning. (Ibid, p. 13)

He argues teachers only see what their culture finds significant, and this makes it hard to transform different cultural models (such as lesson study) from one culture to another, as some of the parts will not be discerned and thus missed in the transformation. Nuthall argues for analysis of learning in the classroom containing both assessments of the students' learning (as a difference between what they know before and after intervention) and observations of the learning situation. This is also highlighted by Morris and Hiebert (2011) who argue for "small tests for small changes" (Ibid, p. 6) instead of few and greater assessments. The argument is that changes more likely happen by making small changes in the classroom every now and then, rather than making one extensive change. They also claim useful instructions should be "testable and improvable" (Ibid, p. 9). One main feature for useful instruction is found to be the teachers' cooperation and teamwork while they try to solve the same problem. Holmqvist (2011),Olteanu and Olteanu (2010) have focused on teachers' professional development in relation to the students' learning outcomes using different models to achieve sustainable shifts in practice. In this article the result from one new study is presented. However, we start with presenting three previous learning studies. The model is based on action research, and the teachers are co-researchers in the iterative processes. The studied objects are formulated by the teachers and aim to capture what it takes to learn a specified phenomenon (Holmqvist, Gustavsson & Wernberg, 2007). This is the joint problem to solve. …

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