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The potential of a task for professional development across national contexts. (English)
Maaß, Katja (ed.) et al., Educating the educators: international approaches to scaling-up professional development in mathematics and science education. Proceedings of the conference hosted jointly by project mascil (mathematics and science for life) and the German Centre for Mathematics Education (DZLM), Essen, Germany, December 15‒16, 2014. Münster: WTM-Verlag (ISBN 978-3-942197-77-9/pbk; 978-3-942197-85-4/ebook). Conference Proceedings in Mathematics Education 2, 216-225 (2015).
Summary: One of the challenges for professional development is to connect the learning of new teaching strategies or pedagogies with teachers’ practices within the classroom. Teachers should feel the need and have the resources to adopt new ideas and to implement them in their daily practice. Classroom materials, like tasks for students, can play a crucial role in this implementation process. Tasks have the potential to reflect innovative aims, like inquiry-based learning (IBL) or using workplace contexts, and to inspire and support teachers in implementing these aims. However, whether a teacher recognizes and exploits this potential of a task and how she/he transforms it into her/his teaching is a complex process and highly depends on the adaptability of the task to his or her practice. This seems especially the case when a task is developed for use across various European countries. We will present one task that is used for investigating the possibilities for implementing IBL in workplace contexts (the aim of the Mascil project) in four countries, Greece, Spain, the Netherlands and Romania. In Greece the adaptation and use of this task in the classroom took place in a master’s course in Mathematics Education with prospective teachers. In Spain a group of researchers and one teacher worked together for optimizing and implementing the task. In the Netherlands an experienced teacher implemented the task to experiment with inquiry based-learning in connection with the world of work. In Romania the task was first introduced at a professional development course, where teachers had to solve the problem and then discuss the solutions and possible teaching strategies. Next, these teachers took the task and implemented it on levels varying from primary school to a master’s course in Mathematics Education. We sketch these national contexts and provide rich descriptions of the cycle of designing, implementing and reflecting on the task and its use in actual lessons. With these experiences we reflect on possibilities and limitations of using one task across countries for in-service and pre-service professional development on a European level.
Classification: B39 D40 B50
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