Teacher Learning Laboratory 2021 Round Up

My lab had another great year, despite the chaos of the pandemic. We had a wide-range of publications from several projects that wrapped up recently. We explored issues of teacher learning, of course, but also issues of identity and math learning, instructional coaching, and more. Below, I am including journal articles, chapters, as well as some podcast episodes. Without further ado, here is the roundup: Grace A, Chen Samantha A. Marshall, and Ilana S. Horn. “‘How do I choose?’: mathematics teachers’ sensemaking about pedagogical responsibility.” Pedagogy, Culture & Society 29, no. 3 (2021): 379-396. Teachers’ decisions are often undergirded by their sense of pedagogical responsibility: whom and what they feel beholden to. However, research on teacher sensemaking has rarely examined how teachers reason about their pedagogical responsibilities. The study analyzed an emotional conversation among urban mathematics teachers about what they teach mathematics for, given the many non-mathematical challenges they and their students face. The familiarity and simplicity of love and life skills narratives deployed to describe what it means to be a good teacher and to do good teaching may be comforting, but limit teachers’ engagement with other authentic forms of pedagogical reasoning about their pedagogical responsibility in complex sociopolitical contexts. The findings reveal the importance of opportunities to explore alternate possibilities ‘for what,’ especially within structured and supportive teacher collaborative groups. Lara Jasien & Melissa Gresalfi (2021) The role of participatory identity in learners’ hybridization of activity across contexts, Journal of the Learning Sciences, 30:4-5, 676-706. Background: We explore how school-based mathematical experiences shape out-of-school mathematical experiences, developing the idea that learners hybridize norms and practices around authority and evaluation across these two contexts. To situate our study, we build on constructs of participatory identity and framing. Methods: Drawing from a large corpus of video records capturing children’s point-of-view, we present a case study of hybridization with two purposively sampled 12-year-old friends—Aimee and Dia—interacting in an out-of-school mathematics playspace. We use interaction analysis to articulate grounded theories of hybridization. Findings: We present a thick description of how children hybridize their activity in out-of-school spaces and how such hybridization is consequential for engagement. Dia’s case illustrates how traditional norms and practices around authority and evaluation can lead to uncertainty and dissatisfaction, while Aimee’s illustrates how playful norms and practices can lead to exploration and pleasure in making. We argue that their school-based mathematics experiences and identities influenced these differences. Contribution: This report strengthens theoretical and methodological tools for understanding how activity and identity development in one context become relevant and shape activity in another by connecting analytic constructs of identity, framing, and hybridizing. Samantha A. Marshall, and Patricia M. Buenrostro. “What Makes Mathematics Teacher Coaching Effective? A Call for a Justice-Oriented Perspective.” Journal of Teacher Education, vol. 72, no. 5, Nov. 2021, pp. 594–60. Mathematics teacher coaching is a promising but largely overlooked form of professional development (PD) for supporting mathematics teachers’ learning of justice-oriented teaching. In this article, we critically review the literature to illuminate what we currently know about mathematics teacher coaching and to highlight studies’ contributions and limitations to inform future work. Broadly, we find that four programs of research have developed, investigating: (a) coaches’ activities and relationships, (b) the effects of coaching on student assessment scores, (c) the effects of coaching on teachers’ practices or behaviors, and (d) the effects of coaching on teachers’ knowledge or beliefs. From this analysis, we argue that justice-oriented perspectives of teaching, in tandem with sociocultural theories of teachers’ learning, could allow for more nuanced investigations of coaching and could support design of learning experiences for teachers that bring us closer to educational justice. Ilana Seidel Horn and Melissa Gresalfi. “Broadening Participation in Mathematical Inquiry: A Problem of Instructional Design.” In R.G. Duncan and C.A. Chinn (Eds.) International Handbook of Inquiry and Learning. Routledge. Cultural myths about mathematics as a set of known facts pose unique obstacles for inquiry instruction. What is there to discover if everything is already known? At the same time, decades of mathematics education research shows the potential for inquiry instruction to broaden participation in the discipline. Taking a classroom ecology perspective, this chapter uncovers common obstacles to inquiry in school mathematics and identifies three leverage points for redesigning instruction toward this goal. These include: teachers’ knowledge for inquiry mathematics, curricular connections to other contexts, and classroom norms and practices. The chapter proposes that design thinking around these leverage points holds promise for wider-spread implementation of inquiry instruction in mathematics classrooms. Emma Gargroetzi, Ilana Seidel Horn, Rosa Chavez and Sunghwan Byun. “Institution-Identities in the Neoliberal Era: Challenging Differential Opportunities for Mathematics Learning.” In J. Langer-Osuna and N. Shah (Eds.) Making Visible the Invisible: The Promise and Challenges of Identity Research in Mathematics National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Schools exert powerful forces on people’s lives. As society’s formal setting for learning, schools-or, more precisely, the people in authority there-certify the learning of the next generation. Contradictions between learning and the bureaucratized systems of schooling are particularly keen in mathematics classrooms, where students are constantly subjected to tools that measure, rank, sort, and label them and their learning. The use of technical instruments as the tools of measurement gives results a veneer of scientific truth such that shifting life trajectories get both rationalized and made invisible. We refer to the mathematical identities that come from such processes as institution-identities (Gee, 2000), exploring how policy language makes available and naturalizes certain positions for students within schools. In other words, we examine how policy language and practices shape and constrain possibilities for young people’s mathematical identities in school-based interactions. All four authors of this chapter taught in U.S. schools. As such, we all have been actors in processes that took full, complex human beings and sorted, labeled, and set them on different paths. In doing so, we co-constructed students’ mathematical institution-identities, giving credence to (or shedding doubt on) stories about their capabilities and future possibilities. In this chapter, we use thickly described examples from four research projects to examine and illuminate how policy language and practices shape and constrain possibilities for young people’s mathematical identities in school-based interactions. On the basis of this analysis, we develop a theory of how policies and neoliberal logics operate together to provide institution-identities that become consequential in children’s mathematical identities and learning. We argue that mathematics educators concerned with issues of access, equity, and inclusion should attend to institution-identities rooted in neoliberal policies that naturalize processes contributing to social stratification. We furthermore demonstrate that policy and its enactment can serve as a site for research into the discursive nature of mathematical identities. Rebuilding after 2020-2021 on the Human Restoration Project Podcast In this conversation, we discuss how teachers can wrap up the 2020-2021 school year through reflection. How can we build a better system after seeing the inequities, problems, and challenges that this school year has highlighted? And, how do we build a classroom in spite of a system that often demotivates and disenfranchises educators? Motivated” Summer Readaloud Series on the Heinemann Podcast Motivated is a guidebook for teachers unsatisfied with questions met by silence. By examining what works in other classrooms and following the example of been-there teachers, you’ll start changing slumped shoulders and blank stares into energetic, engaged learners. In this preview, Ilana digs into some common teaching strategies and explores the “how” and “why” behind them. ––––––––– Our lab has a lot more in store for you –– more articles coming out in Educational Researcher, Journal of Research in Mathematics Education, and Review of Educational Research, just to name a few. We are probably most excited about the monograph we have coming out this spring, Teacher Learning about Ambitious and Equitable Mathematics Instruction: A Sociocultural Approach. Authored by me and Brette Garner, my whole Project SIGMa team contributed to individual chapters. We are really looking forward to conversations about these ideas in the coming months and beyond.

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