Look Beyond Just Getting the Answer

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Abstract

This paper describes the results of a case study spanning three years in which the professional growth of elementary and middle school mathematics teachers involved in a community of practice was explored. These communities of practice were part of a professional development program organized by higher education faculty in mathematics and teacher education at two different universities. The program consisted of two components, in-depth grade level content and classroom implementation, which utilized lesson study as a structure for members’ professional learning. The study sought to answer the question: How do elementary and middle school mathematics teachers describe the impact of a professional development program on their professional growth when the program is embedded in a community of practice that used content and lesson study components as a framework to increase members’ learning? Data, to answer the question, were initially collected by an outside evaluation group and consisted of reflections from all participants and telephone interviews of a smaller sample. Each lesson study group’s research final report was collected by the researchers and used as a data source.