Preparing Teachers to Support Rich Disciplinary Discussions in Their Classrooms

Learn about pre- or in-service teacher education activities designed to support teacher facilitation of student disciplinary discussions through enactments that illustrate teacher education activities.


Often the most we know about our colleagues’ on-the-ground support of teachers is what we read in the methods sections of research articles, or what has been reified many times over in their published teacher learning materials. We rarely get to see, much less experience, one another’s approaches to supporting teachers. This session will open up the black-box of our work with teachers for discussion and scrutiny.

This session aims to 1) make visible the best-practices in teacher education/professional development activities designed to support teacher facilitation of student disciplinary discussions; and 2) provide an opportunity for panelists and participants to examine tacit assumptions about what teachers know – and need to know – regarding facilitating K-12 student discussions in math and science. The cross-disciplinary panel (i.e., two projects in science and one in math will be participating) allows us to compare mathematics and science discussions, and to use those comparisons to uncover models of teacher learning.

To begin, each research team will facilitate a 10-15 minute enactment of an illustrative professional development or teacher education activity, in which the audience will participate as teacher learners. This participation will support a subsequent discussion of the theoretical underpinnings guiding the design work of each project. The session will conclude with discussion of the challenges facing each project and brainstorming possible solutions.

Session Types