CAREER: Investigation of Beginning Teachers' Expertise to Teach Mathematics via Reasoning and Proof

This project aims to develop the knowledge to teach reasoning and proving with secondary teacher candidates, and to follow them into they first years of independent practice to better understand how they are using that knowledge.  The goals of the project are to better understand how beginning teachers' knowledge, dispositions, and proof-related practices evolve over time, and how the sociocultural context and support structures of the schools teachers are in influences their teaching of reasoning and proving.

Full Description: 

Supporting teachers in integrating reasoning and proving as a mathematical practice into secondary math classes is a persistent challenge. These disciplinary practices are challenging to learn and to teach, and are frequently taught in a procedural way that is limited to the context of high school geometry courses. While much is known about the robust nature of reasoning and proving in mathematics and the content knowledge needed to teach it, less is known about how beginning teachers develop that knowledge and how that knowledge is translated into classroom practice. This project aims to develop the knowledge to teach reasoning and proving with secondary teacher candidates, and to follow them into they first years of independent practice to better understand how they are using that knowledge. The goals of the project are to better understand how beginning teachers' knowledge, dispositions, and proof-related practices evolve over time, and how the sociocultural context and support structures of the schools teachers are in influences their teaching of reasoning and proving.

This project consists of three stages: preservice teacher preparation, the teaching internship, and novice teaching (the first two years of independent practice). During the teacher preparation phase, preservice teachers will take part in a capstone course focused on reasoning and proving, including enacting lessons in related to reasoning and proving in local middle schools. Using the Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching Proof framework, teachers' knowledge and dispositions towards reasoning and proving will be assessed through pre- and post-course assessment and surveys. Their example lessons will be video recorded and analyzed with respect to proof content, and they will engage in post-course interviews. In the next phase, during year-long student teaching internships, they will be asked to integrate reasoning and proving into their classroom practice. A set of target lessons will be recorded and analyzed, with full unit artifacts being collected and analyzed and pre- and post-unit interviews with the teacher conducted. The third phase follows teachers into their first two years of teaching practice and asks them to identify two units related to reasoning and proving to serve as data sources. The research team will conduct start and end of year interviews with the teachers, collect video recordings of the units and associated artifacts, administer a dispositions towards proof survey, and conduct pre- and post-unit interviews. Teachers will also participate in a professional learning community designed to support their teaching related to reasoning and proving. Data will be analyzed across the three phases using case study methodology to characterize patterns of knowledge, dispositions, and practice related o reasoning and proving. The project will also make available educational materials related to the capstone course and the professional learning community that will further support the development of teachers' knowledge and capacity for teaching reasoning and proving.

Project Materials

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