Using Analysis of Practice to Improve Science and Mathematics Teaching: Ways to Support and Study Teacher Learning

This session examines different approaches to engaging mathematics and science teachers in analysis of practice (e.g., using video, student work, and online tools) and different strategies for assessing impact of this work.

Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 9:45am to 11:45am
PI-organized Discussion

There is much support for embedding teachers’ professional learning in the analysis of practice. This approach can engage teachers in deepening both their content knowledge and pedagogical knowledge in more meaningful contexts than typical courses or professional development workshops. The purposes of this session are (1) to examine four different approaches to analysis of practice in professional development work with mathematics and science teachers and (2) to consider the affordances and constraints of different strategies for assessing the impact of these approaches. After addressing the session’s focus question—What are we learning about how to engage teachers in analyzing practice, and how are we studying/assessing their ability to do so?—presenters involve audience members in a discussion about the promise and challenges of conducting and studying this kind of professional development. Questions discussed: (1) What do these and other approaches to analysis of practice have in common? What are important differences? (2) How are these and other projects contributing to our knowledge about how to assess the impact of analysis of practice professional development? (3) What can our collective projects contribute to understanding analysis of practice as a mechanism for improving mathematics and science education? What other research is going on in this area? What are gaps in our knowledge?

The projects include:

Science Teachers Learning from Lesson Analysis—Through analysis of content-specific videocases, this project supports and studies upper elementary teachers as they deepen their science content knowledge, develop their ability to be analytical about science teaching and learning, improve their science teaching practice, and improve their students’ science learning. Teachers learn a process for analyzing science teaching and learning through two lenses: the Student Thinking Lens and the Science Content Storyline Lens.

Mathematics Discourse in Secondary Classrooms—This project is creating professional development materials for secondary mathematics teachers. The materials are designed to support teachers as they learn about and reflect on their discourse practices in ways that help them become purposeful about helping students engage in mathematics in productive and powerful ways. Analysis of practice includes analyzing teaching cases, analyzing student work, analyzing video/audio from participants’ own classrooms, and conducting action research.

Virtual Learning Communities: An Online Professional Development Resource for STEM Teachers—This project is creating online settings and materials to support first- and fourth-grade teachers using the Everyday Mathematics curriculum. Analysis of practice integrates learning objects rooted in practice, such as lesson video, community-building Internet tools, and focused mathematical content.

Energy: A Multidisciplinary Approach for Teachers—This project is developing and studying an online course designed to enhance teachers’ knowledge and practice related to energy concepts. The facilitated course integrates a constructivist learning approach with extensive use of lesson analysis. Lesson analyses are designed to enhance teachers’ science content knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, and practice as they reflect on lessons using two lenses: the Science Content Storyline and Student Thinking Lenses.