Meghan Shaughnessy, Nicole Garcia, Deborah Ball, and Leslie Herrenkohl will examine important questions about how to design professional development for practicing elementary mathematics teachers in ways that improve teachers’ skills with leading mathematics discussions while attending to and disrupting patterns of inequity that are often amplified during class discussion.
This grant supports elementary mathematics teachers’ skills with leading discussions. Growing evidence about the powerful effects of skillful teaching on students’ learning creates a need for professional development that impacts teachers’ actual practice. Teaching practices have been shown to play a crucial role in the reproduction or disruption of injustice. This project aims to create opportunities for teachers to notice and understand how normalized practice often reproduces inequity and learn ways to disrupt typical patterns of inequity in their classroom. The project will design and study professional development that works on practice centered on the disruption of patterns of injustice. Researchers will focus on classroom discussions because they can be a key site for either reproducing or disrupting inequities and they have been established as a powerful instructional practice. In addition to studying the impact of the professional development on teachers’ teaching skill, the project also explores teachers’ perceptions of their learning, influences on teachers’ professional learning, and the impact of a mathematics-focused professional development versus a generalized focus on teaching practice and perception of learning. The project will generate new knowledge regarding ways in which elementary mathematics teachers can be supported to learn effective teaching practice.