Preservice Teachers

Facilitating Formative Feedback: Using Simulations to Impact the Capability of Novice Mathematics Teachers

This project explores the ways in which thoughtfully designed simulations can provide preservice teachers with formative assessment opportunities that serve as a complement to, or alternative to as needed, feedback derived from field placement contexts. A set of simulations will be designed with a focus on eliciting and interpreting student thinking. These simulations will be used with preservice teachers in three elementary teacher preparation programs of varying size and demographics.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2101343
Funding Period: 
Wed, 09/01/2021 to Sun, 08/31/2025
Full Description: 

During their initial teacher preparation experiences, preservice teachers need meaningful formative assessment that can support them in developing their skills and practices as new teachers of mathematics. While field placements offer some such opportunities, too often preservice teachers are not able to see, experience, and enact a full range of research-based effective mathematics teaching practices. This level II four-year design and development study in the assessment strand explores the ways in which thoughtfully designed simulations can provide preservice teachers with formative assessment opportunities that serve as a complement to, or alternative to as needed, feedback derived from field placement contexts. A set of simulations will be designed with a focus on eliciting and interpreting student thinking. These simulations will be used with preservice teachers in three elementary teacher preparation programs of varying size and demographics. Data will be collected to understand the ways in which the feedback from engaging in the simulations serves to strengthen preservice teachers' abilities to elicit and interpret student thinking through an analysis of performance in the simulations, interviews with preservice teachers, and feedback from teacher educators. An associated study will establish the reliability and validity of the simulations as assessment tools.

Simulations will be developed and tested in three cycles, with iterative improvements made between each cycle. The first cycle will involve 10 preservice teachers in a pilot study separate from participation in a course, in which preservice teachers engage in a simulation, receive formative feedback, and engage in a second similar simulation. This cycle will evaluate the extent to which feedback appears to influence subsequent performance. In the second cycle, the project will work with three teacher educators in diverse contexts to enact the simulations with all preservice teachers in one section of their elementary mathematics methods courses. In the final cycle, the use of the simulations will shift from a research team actor playing the role of the student to a site-based actor recruited by the teacher educators at each of the three institutions. To validate the tools, researcher reliability and teacher educator reliability studies will be conducted to asses the extent to which the four different simulation assessments provide consistent feedback on the targeted teaching practices and the extent to which the scoring of the assessments are reliable. A G study (generalizability study) will be conducted to evaluate the extent to which the teacher participant is the primary source of variation as compared to variations from student actors or the rater administering the assessment. Results will be disseminated in a variety of mathematics education settings and the simulation materials will be made available to practitioners and adapted for additional use in  mixed-reality simulation platforms.

Culturally Responsive, Affective-Focused Teaching of Science and Mathematics

This project will provide a field-based science and mathematics teacher education program that supports teaching focused on students’ affective development through culturally responsive practices. The project's teacher education program takes place over a two-year period and models how culturally responsive and affective instruction can occur in the STEM classroom to engage students.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2101277
Funding Period: 
Thu, 07/01/2021 to Sun, 06/30/2024
Full Description: 

Students and professionals who identify as Black, Indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC) continue to be underrepresented in STEM fields. Broadening participation in STEM requires a change in how K-12 STEM teachers engage and educate students who identify as BIPOC. Research has demonstrated that cultural and social justice connections can lead to positive academic outcomes for students who identify as BIPOC in science and mathematics. This project will provide a field-based science and mathematics teacher education program that supports teaching focused on students’ affective development through culturally responsive practices. In this project, affective development is defined by students’ abilities to incorporate their science and mathematics learning into their own unique personal value systems. The project's field-based teacher education program takes place over a two-year period and models how culturally responsive and affective instruction can occur in the STEM classroom to engage students. The project participants include 48 secondary science and mathematics teachers who work with about 5300 students in a district with some of the most persistent and pronounced educational equity issues in the state of Florida. The associated research will have implications for theory and practice that can be extended to improve STEM educator development in schools and districts throughout the country. This aligns with NSF’s commitment to advancing K-12 student and teacher learning in the STEM disciplines through research-based design and development of innovative models.

Using design-based implementation research, this project will accomplish the following objectives: (1) transform the practices of a district-wide set of 48 secondary science and mathematics teachers by equipping them with culturally responsive, affective-focused practices and leadership skills; (2) construct tools and resources that will serve as open-access professional development materials shared widely via learning management tools; and (3) develop an evidence-based and adaptable theory of change to share widely with the STEM education community. The research plan draws on both qualitative and quantitative research methods to study the experiences and changes of science and mathematics teachers and their students as they experience continuously refined versions of the teacher education model. In particular, this project focuses on studying teacher and student outcomes, including teachers’ culturally responsive, affective-focused practices and self-efficacy, their understanding of student values and cultural backgrounds, and their attitudes toward cultural diversity; growth in students’ affective development and STEM achievement, their interest in STEM careers, and STEM identity development. Answers to the research questions will provide empirically-driven means for developing both the practical tools and the theoretical models of change toward STEM teacher transformation and positive impacts for students who identify as BIPOC.

Enhancing Science Education through Virtual Reality: A Conference to Design Simulations that Enhance the Clinical Preparation of Secondary Science Teachers

This conference focuses on the use of virtual/mixed reality simulation in the preparation of secondary science teachers. The conference convenes experts in simulation in teacher preparation, practicing high school teachers, and teacher candidates to engage in a design process related to mixed reality simulations. Conference attendees will identify important gaps in science teacher preparation and design prototype simulation environments for addressing those gaps.

Award Number: 
2040747
Funding Period: 
Fri, 01/01/2021 to Fri, 12/31/2021
Full Description: 

This conference focuses on the use of virtual/mixed reality simulation in the preparation of secondary science teachers. Educator preparation programs (EPPs) face significant challenges in providing science teacher candidates with quality clinical placements in high school science classrooms. Placements typically do not include the variety of science subject areas that teacher candidates are likely to teach (e.g., biology, chemistry, geoscience, physics) and the classes may not include important student populations such as English language learners or students who receive special education services. The use of virtual and/or mixed reality teaching simulations can address these needs by providing teacher candidates with opportunities to teach a wide range of science content and a diverse set of science learners. This conference brings together stakeholders in science teacher education to develop prototype simulation environments to address these gaps.

The conference convenes experts in simulation in teacher preparation, practicing high school teachers, and teacher candidates to engage in a design process related to mixed reality simulations. Conference attendees will identify important gaps in science teacher preparation and design prototype simulation environments for addressing those gaps. Mursion, a leader in mixed-reality teaching simulations, will provide the platform and resources to rapidly design and test prototypes that build on their current simulation deployment and provide these prototypes to conference attendees and members of the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE) to use and test in their EPP settings. Another key outcome of the convening is the development of a networked improvement community that would develop guidance for the effective use of simulations in science teacher preparation. This work will have a broad impact as the networked improvement community will continue to iterate and advance the use of the simulations in high school science teacher preparation programs.

Online Practice Suite: Practice Spaces, Simulations and Virtual Reality Environments for Preservice Teachers to Learn to Facilitate Argumentation Discussions in Math and Science

This project will develop, pilot, and refine a set of coordinated and complementary activities that teacher education programs can use in both online and face-to-face settings to provide practice-based opportunities for preservice teachers to develop their ability to facilitate argumentation-focused discussions in mathematics and science.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2037983
Funding Period: 
Sat, 08/15/2020 to Mon, 07/31/2023
Full Description: 

In teacher education it is widely acknowledged that learning to teach requires that preservice teachers have robust, authentic, and consistent opportunities to engage in the work of teaching—ideally across different contexts, with diverse student populations, and for varied purposes—as they hone their instructional practice. Practice teaching experiences in K-12 classrooms, such as field placements and student teaching, are the most widely used approaches to provide these opportunities. In an ideal world these experiences are opportunities for preservice teachers to observe and work closely with mentor teachers and try out new instructional strategies with individual, small groups, and whole classes of K-12 students. While these experiences are critical to supporting preservice teachers' learning, it can be difficult to help preservice teachers transition from university classrooms to field placements in ways that provide them with opportunities to enact ambitious instructional strategies. This need is particularly acute in mathematics and science education, where classrooms that model strong disciplinary discourse and argumentation are not always prevalent. This challenge is amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic environment; with schools and universities across the nation operating online, many preservice teachers will miss out on opportunities to practice teaching both within their courses and in K-12 classrooms. To address this urgent challenge in STEM education, project researchers will develop, pilot, and refine a set of coordinated and complementary activities that teacher education programs can use in both online and face-to-face settings to provide practice-based opportunities for preservice teachers to develop their ability to facilitate argumentation-focused discussions in mathematics and science, a critical teaching practice in these content areas. The practice-based activities include: (1) interactive, online digital games that create targeted practice spaces to engage preservice teachers to respond to students' content-focused ideas and interactions; (2) facilitating group discussions with upper elementary or middle school student avatars in a simulated classroom using performance-based tasks; and (3) an immersive virtual reality whole-classroom environment that allows for verbal, textual and non-verbal interactions between a teacher avatar and 24 student avatars. The online practice suite, made up of these activities along with supports to help teacher educators use them effectively, represents not just an immediate remedy to the challenge of COVID-19, but a rich and flexible set of resources with the potential to support and improve teacher preparation well beyond the COVID-19 challenge.

This study will use design-based research to create this integrated system of practice teaching opportunities. This approach will involve developing and refining the individual practice activities, the integrated online practice suite, and the teacher educator support materials by working with a teacher educator community of practice and engaging up to 20 teacher educators and 400 preservice teachers in multiple rounds of tryouts and piloting during the three-year project. The project will proceed in three phases: a first phase of small-scale testing, a second phase trying the materials with teacher educators affiliated with the project team, and a third phase piloting materials with a broader group of mathematics and science teacher educators. Data sources include surveys of preservice teachers' background characteristics, perceptions of the practice activities, beliefs about content instruction, perceptions about preparedness to teach, and understanding of argumentation and discussion, videos and/or log files of their performances for each practice teaching activity, and scores on their practice teaching performances. The project team will also observe the in-class instructional activities prior to and after the use of each practice teaching activity, conduct interviews with teacher educators, and collect instructional logs from the teacher educators and instructional artifacts used to support preservice teachers' learning. Data analysis will include pre and post comparisons to examine evidence of growth in preservice math and science teachers' beliefs, perceptions, understanding, and teaching performance. The project team will also build a series of analytic memos to describe how each teacher educator used the online practice suite within the mathematics or science methods course and the factors and decisions that went into that each use case. Then, they will describe and understand how the various uses and adaptations may be linked to contextual factors within these diverse settings. Findings will be used to produce empirically and theoretically grounded design principles and heuristics for these types of practice-based activities to support teacher learning.


 Project Videos

2021 STEM for All Video Showcase

Title: Simulation and Virtual Reality Tools in Teacher Education

Presenter(s): Jamie Mikeska, Heather Howell, Pamela Lottero-Perdue, & Calli Shekell


Co-learning Math Teaching Project: Collaborative Structures to Support Learning to Teach across the Professional Teaching Continuum

This project will design and study an innovative model of collaborative learning for pre-service and experienced secondary mathematics teachers that focuses on equitable mathematics teaching practices that include understanding students' knowledge, math understandings, and experiences they bring to the classroom.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2010634
Funding Period: 
Sun, 11/01/2020 to Thu, 10/31/2024
Full Description: 

An ongoing challenge for the preparation of new mathematics teachers is creating quality experiences in classrooms for student teaching. The project will design and study an innovative model of collaborative learning for pre-service and experienced secondary mathematics teachers. Multiple pre-service teachers will collaborate in the same secondary mathematics teacher's classroom for their field placements. The partnership between the school and the university will allow for professional development for the pre-service teachers and the experienced teachers. A particular focus of the project will be equity in mathematics teaching and learning. Developing equitable mathematics teaching practices includes better understanding students' knowledge, math understandings, and experiences they bring to the classroom. Improving the student teaching experience may improve retention in the teaching profession and help pre-service teachers be better prepared for their first years of teaching.

This is an exploratory project about mathematics teaching and teacher development in field experiences for pre-service teachers. The project introduces collaborative learning structures for pre-service teacher education that focus on equitable mathematics teaching practices. The collaborative learning structures include both the cooperating teacher and multiple pre-service teachers working in the same classroom. The project will use a design-based research model to systematically study the process of co-learning and the critical features of collaborative learning structures as they are designed to support co-learning between novice and experienced teachers. Multiple universities are included in the project in order to compare the model in different settings. The project will use Math Studio as a model for the teachers to focus on a lesson taught by one teacher but the group plans, observes, and reflects about the lesson together. A facilitator or math coach supports the group's work during the Math Studio process. The project has two research questions. First, how do pre-service teachers and cooperating teachers co-learn? More specifically, what vision, dispositions, understandings and practices of justification and generalization does each teacher develop during their time together? How does each teacher's vision, dispositions, understandings, and practices of mathematics teaching shift during their time together? Second, what are the design characteristics of the collaborative learning structures that support or inhibit pre-service teachers and cooperating teachers in learning? The qualitative study will collect video recordings and artifacts from the Math Studio, assessments of math teaching practices, and data from the leadership team in order to compare the model's implementation at different sites. The data analysis will occur iteratively throughout the project to refine the coding framework to describe learning and shifts in teacher practice.

Learning to Teach During COVID-19: Leveraging Simulated Classrooms as Practice-based Spaces for Preservice Elementary Teachers within Online Teacher Education Courses

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted the ability of teacher education programs to place their teacher candidates in typical K-12 teaching settings as a part of learning to teach. This project examines how simulated classroom field experiences for preservice teachers can be implemented in online and emergency remote teacher education courses.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2032179
Funding Period: 
Mon, 06/15/2020 to Mon, 05/31/2021
Full Description: 

School-based field experiences are a critical part of preservice teacher education. The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted the ability of teacher education programs to place their teacher candidates in typical K-12 teaching settings as a part of learning to teach. This project examines how simulated classroom field experiences for preservice teachers can be implemented in online and emergency remote teacher education courses. Elementary mathematics and science teacher educators are provided with opportunities to engage their preservice teachers in practice-based spaces using mixed-reality simulated classroom environments. These simulations are real-time lessons with animated student avatars that are voiced by an interactor who is responding to the teacher's lesson in real time in ways that represent authentic student thinking. This project aims to develop support materials for integrating simulated field experiences into elementary mathematics and science teacher education courses. The research will seek to understand what preservice teachers learn about teaching from these experiences, how teacher educators integrate the simulated field experiences into coursework, and how such simulated experiences can be integrated in remote, online courses in ways that support preservice teacher learning.

This project advances knowledge through the development and deployment of simulation-based tools that develop preservice elementary teachers' abilities to teach mathematics and science. Preservice teachers use performance tasks to deliver instruction in the simulated classroom. The project develops support materials for teacher educators to integrate this work into online and/or emergency remote teacher education courses (in response to COVID-19) in ways that support engagement in ambitious teaching practice. The project assesses impact on preservice teachers' ambitious teaching practice through artifacts of the simulated classroom practice, including observations and recordings of the simulated interactions and preservice teacher surveys and assessments of their use of ambitious teaching practices. The project evaluates the ways in which teacher educators integrate the simulated field experience into their emergency remote teacher education courses through surveys and interviews. The research addresses the immediate COVID-19 pandemic challenges in providing field experiences for students and provides long-term support for the ongoing challenge of finding field experience settings that are conducive to preparing highly-qualified elementary mathematics and science teachers.

Understanding the Role of Lesson Study in K-12 Mathematics and Science Teacher Education

This conference will shed light on how mathematics and science teacher educators are currently using lesson study to prepare pre-service teachers. The project will improve teacher educators' understanding of how lesson study can be optimized to teach pre-service teachers which will help bring this technique to the future teachers in their programs.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2010137
Funding Period: 
Mon, 06/15/2020 to Mon, 05/31/2021
Full Description: 

This conference will shed light on how mathematics and science teacher educators are currently using lesson study to prepare pre-service teachers. Lesson study is a structured process for teachers to study content and curriculum, carefully plan lessons to test a researchable question about student learning, teach the lesson in front of other professionals who help gather data, and use that data to evaluate the efficacy of the instruction for the students. With its focus on researching the connection between lesson enactment and student learning, lesson study contains structures for connecting practice-based teacher education to schools and classrooms. By evaluating the efficacy of the instruction, the outcomes, positive or negative, can be applied to other relevant instruction. The use of lesson study in college classes for pre-service teachers is relatively new in the United States, but it is becoming more popular. Because lesson study has been used primarily for in-service professional development of teachers, little is known about how it can be optimally employed for pre-service teacher education. This project will improve teacher educators' understanding of how lesson study can be optimized to teach pre-service teachers which will help bring this technique to the future teachers in their programs. When pre-service teachers are better prepared, high quality mathematics and science instruction may be expanded to more schools, giving more K-12 students improved opportunities to learn these subjects.

This project will support twenty-four mathematics and science teacher educators to collaborate in identifying their pedagogical goals for using lesson study and the enabling and constraining factors for its implementation that they perceive. Given that universities and schools have variance in their structures and focus, teacher educators will identify any modifications they have made to the lesson study process considering their context. By collaboratively identifying pedagogical goals, enabling and constraining implementation factors, and evidence-based adjustments to the lesson study process, this project will clarify the lesson study practices of the participants. The project will yield an edited book for other teacher educators to deploy lesson study in their teacher education programs, building from what is currently known and setting a trajectory for future pre-service teacher lesson study and research. Additionally, the project will establish a baseline network of teacher educators using lesson study within teacher education that can be built upon in the future.

Leveraging Simulations in Preservice Preparation to Improve Mathematics Teaching for Students with Disabilities (Collaborative Research: Cohen)

This project aims to support the mathematics learning of students with disabilities through the development and use of mixed reality simulations for elementary mathematics teacher preparation. These simulations represent low-stakes opportunities for preservice teachers to practice research-based instructional strategies to support mathematics learning, and to receive feedback on their practices.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2009939
Funding Period: 
Fri, 05/01/2020 to Tue, 04/30/2024
Full Description: 

The preparation of general education teachers to support the mathematics learning of students with disabilities is critical, as students with disabilities are overrepresented in the lower ranks of mathematics achievement. This project aims to address this need in the context of elementary mathematics teacher preparation through the development and use of mixed reality simulations. These simulations represent low-stakes opportunities for preservice teachers to practice research-based instructional strategies to support mathematics learning, and to receive feedback on their practices. Learning units that use the simulations will focus on two high leverage practices: teacher modeling of self-monitoring and reflection strategies during problem solving and using strategy instruction to teach students to support problem solving. These high-leverage teaching practices will support teachers engaging all students, including students with disabilities, in conceptually sophisticated mathematics in which students are treated as sense-makers and empowered to do mathematics in culturally meaningful ways.

The project work encompasses three primary aims. The first aim is to develop a consensus around shared definitions of high-leverage practices across the mathematics education and special education communities. To accomplish this goal, the project will convene a series of consensus-building panels with mathematics education and special education experts to develop shared definitions of the two targeted high leverage practices. This work will include engaging with current research, group discussion, and production of documents with specifications for the practices. The second aim is to develop learning units for elementary mathematics methods courses grounded in mixed reality simulation. These simulations will allow teacher candidates to enact the high leverage practices with simulated students and to receive coaching on their practice from the research team. The impact of this work will be assessed through the analysis of interviews with teacher educators implementing the units and observations and artifacts from the implementations. The third aim will be to assess the effectiveness of the simulations on teacher candidates? practices and beliefs through small-scaled randomized control trials. Teacher candidates will be randomly assigned to conditions that address the practices and make use of simulations, and a business as usual condition focused on lesson planning, student assessment, and small group discussions of the high leverage practices. The impact of the work will be assessed through the analysis of baseline and exit simulations, measures of teacher self-efficacy for teaching students with disabilities, and observations of classroom teaching in their clinical placement settings.

Leveraging Simulations in Preservice Preparation to Improve Mathematics Teaching for Students with Disabilities (Collaborative Research: Jones)

This project aims to support the mathematics learning of students with disabilities through the development and use of mixed reality simulations for elementary mathematics teacher preparation. These simulations represent low-stakes opportunities for preservice teachers to practice research-based instructional strategies to support mathematics learning, and to receive feedback on their practices.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2010298
Funding Period: 
Fri, 05/01/2020 to Tue, 04/30/2024
Full Description: 

The preparation of general education teachers to support the mathematics learning of students with disabilities is critical, as students with disabilities are overrepresented in the lower ranks of mathematics achievement. This project aims to address this need in the context of elementary mathematics teacher preparation through the development and use of mixed reality simulations. These simulations represent low-stakes opportunities for preservice teachers to practice research-based instructional strategies to support mathematics learning, and to receive feedback on their practices. Learning units that use the simulations will focus on two high leverage practices: teacher modeling of self-monitoring and reflection strategies during problem solving and using strategy instruction to teach students to support problem solving. These high-leverage teaching practices will support teachers engaging all students, including students with disabilities, in conceptually sophisticated mathematics in which students are treated as sense-makers and empowered to do mathematics in culturally meaningful ways.

The project work encompasses three primary aims. The first aim is to develop a consensus around shared definitions of high-leverage practices across the mathematics education and special education communities. To accomplish this goal, the project will convene a series of consensus-building panels with mathematics education and special education experts to develop shared definitions of the two targeted high leverage practices. This work will include engaging with current research, group discussion, and production of documents with specifications for the practices. The second aim is to develop learning units for elementary mathematics methods courses grounded in mixed reality simulation. These simulations will allow teacher candidates to enact the high leverage practices with simulated students and to receive coaching on their practice from the research team. The impact of this work will be assessed through the analysis of interviews with teacher educators implementing the units and observations and artifacts from the implementations. The third aim will be to assess the effectiveness of the simulations on teacher candidates? practices and beliefs through small-scaled randomized control trials. Teacher candidates will be randomly assigned to conditions that address the practices and make use of simulations, and a business as usual condition focused on lesson planning, student assessment, and small group discussions of the high leverage practices. The impact of the work will be assessed through the analysis of baseline and exit simulations, measures of teacher self-efficacy for teaching students with disabilities, and observations of classroom teaching in their clinical placement settings.

International Mind, Brain and Education Society (IMBES): 2020 Biennial Conference

This award will support teacher practitioners from the U.S. to attend the 2020 International Mind, Brain, and Education Society (IMBES) conference. The IMBES conference is an opportunity for scholars and educators to come together to engage in reciprocal dialogue about research and practice in biology, education, and the cognitive and developmental sciences.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2016241
Funding Period: 
Sun, 03/15/2020 to Thu, 12/31/2020
Full Description: 

The International Mind, Brain, and Education Society (IMBES) conference has taken place every 2-3 years since 2007. IMBES aims to facilitate cross-cultural collaboration in biology, education, and the cognitive and developmental sciences. The IMBES meeting is an opportunity for scholars and educators to come together to engage in reciprocal dialogue about research and practice. Researchers investigating learning processes have the opportunity to share results with educators and receive feedback on the translational opportunities for the research. Educators can update their understanding of the cognitive and neural bases of learning and impart their knowledge of efficacious techniques, tools, and classroom practices with researchers. This type of interaction between researchers and practitioners is crucial for generating research that contributes to usable knowledge for education. This conference aims to assess the degree to which scientific ideas are ready for the classroom, consider the extent to which further educational research is still required, evaluate the potential of current research in meaningfully shaping pedagogy, and recognize opportunities to use the classroom to challenge the robustness of research.

This award to Temple University will provide partial support for the International, Mind, Brain, and Education Society (IMBES) conference to be held in Montreal in June 2020. This award will specifically support teacher practitioners from the U.S. to attend the conference and learn more about educational neuroscience and its potential implications for practice. The teacher practitioners will also have opportunities to share with researchers the nature of effective educational practice.

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