Decomposing Practice in Teacher Professional Development: Examining Sequences of Learning Activities

In this paper, we analyze a PD design, examining its activities and the sequencing of professional learning tasks. We use a theoretical framework typically used in pre-service teacher education to understand the design of one PD program. Our overarching goal is to theorize about how to design PD and sequence professional learning tasks for practicing teachers. Specifically, this study uses the concepts of decomposition of practice(Grossman et al., 2009) and levels of decomposition (Boerst, Sleep, Ball, & Bass, 2011) to analyze a mathematics PD program developed to help elementary school teachers implement high quality mathematics discourse in their classrooms. We examine the ways the program decomposes practice, the sequencing of different levels of decomposition in the PD sequencing of activities, and the results regarding teacher change in connection with different levels of decomposition. We use the results of this analysis to discuss one
productive way of organizing activities within PD programs.

Sztajn, P., Heck, D., Malzahn, K., & Dick, L. (2020). Decomposing practice in teacher professional development: Examining sequences of learning activities. Teaching and Teacher Education, 91, 103039.