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Supporting teachers’ professional learning by navigating openings in the curriculum. (English)
J. Math. Teach. Educ. 5, No. 1, 7-34 (2002).
Researchers agree that achieving the fundamental changes called for by current reforms in mathematics education requires new learning on the part of teachers. Currently, across the United States there exists a tremendous variety of teacher-enhancement projects representing a range of perspectives and approaches to supporting teachers’ learning. This paper presents a comparative analysis of three teacher educators using a curriculum designed for use with elementary teachers in an inquiry-group setting. The aim of the study was to examine the process and demands of supporting teachers’ learning and teachers’ efforts to reform their practices. Analyses revealed that the central demand of supporting teachers’ learning through inquiry involved navigating through what we have called openings in the curriculum. These openings took the form of unanticipated questions, challenges, observations, or actions by participating teachers that required facilitators to make on-the-spot judgments about how to guide the discourse. Examinations of the facilitators’ processes of navigating these openings revealed a set of three activities they employed in determining how to respond. Analysis of the activities of facilitators in response to openings further illuminates the work involved in supporting teachers’ learning and has implications for the skills needed by teacher educators engaged in this work.
Classification: B52
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