The Center for Proficiency in Teaching Mathematics

2006-07 Colloquium Series

 

The annual University of Michigan Mathematics Education Leadership Conference is scheduled for Friday, October 5, 2007.
 

 

 

"Representations of Teaching and their Use in Studying the Rationality of Practice"

Patricio G. Herbst
University of Michigan

Tuesday, September 19, 2006
12:00-1:30 PM
Brownlee Room
University of Michigan School of Education

 

Abstract:

The assertion that mathematics teaching is a practice suggests that instructional action is not reducible to application of rules or to adaptation to context. Rather, like in many complex games, a practical rationality regulates the many tactical moves that teachers make to construct viable instances of a practice. This practical reason is subject-specific and to a large extent tacit; yet, responsible bids for instructional improvement should rely on knowledge of what it consists of and understanding of how it works. This talk outlines how Dr. Herbst conceptualizes the study of mathematics teaching in such a way as to capture the practical rationality of mathematics teaching and how his team implemented this in the study of the teaching of high school geometry. Specifically he demonstrates how hypotheses about the regulatory aspects of teaching geometric theorems can be studied empirically, by designing representations of teaching and implementing them to assist thought experiments within groups of experienced practitioners.

About the presenter:


Patricio Herbst is a mathematics educator whose research focuses on the epistemological dimensions of mathematics classrooms. He studies empirically what objects of knowledge and ways of knowing are viable in classrooms and why. His interests include describing and explaining the work that teachers do to create and sustain mathematical activity and knowing in classrooms. His current work addresses those issues in the context of the teaching of geometry in high schools and the place allocated to reasoning and proof in the customary practices of geometry instruction. He teaches courses on mathematics instruction, curriculum, and research in the doctoral specialization in mathematics education, and a course on secondary mathematics instruction for the teacher education program. Herbst has published his work in numerous journals (JRME, AERJ, C&I, ESM, RDM, etc.) and sits in the editorial boards of three international journals (Recherches en Didactique des Mathematiques, Educational Studies in Mathematics, and the Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education.) He received his doctorate from the University of Georgia in 1998.

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"Improving Mathematics Teaching: A Journey Beyond TIMSS Video"

James W. Stigler
UCLA and LessonLab Research Institute

Wednesday, September 27, 2006
12:00-1:00 PM
Whitney Room (1309 SEB)
University of Michigan School of Education

 

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Abstract:

Videos of classroom teaching collected as part of the Third International Mathematics and Science Study reveal that teaching is a cultural activity, varying more across cultures than within. It is learned implicitly; it is largely based on hidden cultural scripts; it is embedded in wider cultural beliefs and practices; and it is difficult to change. Given these facts, how can teaching be improved? In this presentation Dr. Stigler describes most recent findings from the TIMSS Video Studies of mathematics and science teaching in seven countries, and discusses the implications of these findings for (a) current debates about mathematics teaching and learning in schools, and (b) efforts to improve teaching through professional development.

About the presenter:


Professor of Psychology at UCLA, Director of the TIMSS video studies, and founder and CEO of LessonLab. He is co-author of The Teaching Gap (with James Hiebert, Free Press, 1999) and The Learning Gap (with Harold Stevenson, Simon & Schuster, 1992). He received his A.B. from Brown University in 1976, a Masters in Education from the University of Pennsylvania in 1977, and a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Michigan in 1982. Before moving to Los Angeles in 1991, he served eight years on the faculty of the University of Chicago. He has received numerous awards for his research, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and the QuEST award from the American Federation of Teachers. Dr. Stigler is best known for his observational work in classrooms, and has pioneered the use of multimedia technology for the study of classroom instruction.

This talk was co-supported with funds provided by the Rackham Graduate School in support of the Educational Studies curriculum reform initiative, a project under the Carnegie Initiative on the Doctorate.

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"The Mathematical Knowledge of Middle School Teachers: Implications for the No Child Left Behind Policy Initiative"

Heather C. Hill
University of Michigan

Tuesday, October 3, 2006
12:00-1:30 PM
Brownlee Room
University of Michigan, School of Education

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Abstract:

The last several years have seen ambitious policy-making in the area of teacher quality and qualifications -- i.e., the highly qualified teacher provisions in NCLB, the Institute for Educational Sciences' (IES) focus on building broad understanding of effective teacher preparation and knowledge enhancement programs, and the federal government's Math-Science Partnerships. These policy initiatives stem from perceptions that the preparation of U.S. teachers, and mathematics teachers in particular, is inadequate. Yet to a large degree, our understanding of the mathematical knowledge of mathematics teachers is unsystematic, relying on either proxy indicators such as subject matter major and certification (as NCLB itself does) or on nonrandom, often small, samples of teachers. Given the policy emphasis on improving teachers’ knowledge of mathematics, and the use of proxy indicators by policy-makers and district personnel alike, there is a pressing need for rigorous study of the following questions:

What is/are the problem(s) with mathematics teachers' subject matter knowledge for teaching?
What is the relationship between teachers' academic credentials, experience and their actual knowledge of the mathematics they teach?

Further, given evidence regarding the inequitable distribution of
teachers' credentials by student poverty status, an additional question arises:

To what degree is teacher knowledge -a key resource for student learning- distributed equitably across students of differing levels of affluence?

This talk presents evidence on these three questions. It focuses specifically on middle school, in part because there is much less known about middle school teachers and students, and in part because many view middle school- and middle school mathematics in particular - as a critical gateway to high school course-taking and college enrollment (Riley, 1997; Silva & Moses, 1990). Middle school teachers are also a unique population, in that while many train specifically for these grades, many more are either former elementary or high school teachers. Knowing more about the relative mathematical knowledge of these groups will be helpful in understanding how middle school teachers should be recruited and trained.

About the presenter:

Heather C. Hill is an assistant professor and associate research scientist at the University of Michigan. Her primary work focuses on developing measures of mathematical knowledge for teaching, and using these measures to evaluate public policies and programs intended to improve teachers’ understanding of this mathematics. Her other interests include the measurement of instruction more broadly, instructional improvement efforts in mathematics, and the role that language plays in the implementation of public policy. She received a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Michigan in 2000 for work analyzing the implementation of public policies in law enforcement and education. She has served as section chair for AERA division L (politics and policy), and on the editorial board of Journal of Research in Mathematics Education. She is the co-author, with David K. Cohen, of Learning policy: When state education reform works (Yale Press, 2001).

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"Cognition Based Assessment in Elementary Mathematics: Student and Teacher Learning"

Michael T. Battista
Michigan State University

Tuesday, November 14, 2006
12:00-1:30 PM
Brownlee Room
University of Michigan, School of Education

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Abstract:

Dr. Battista describes a two-phase National Science Foundation funded project that he has been directing the last 5-6 years. In Phase 1, which is close to completion, the team developed a Cognition Based Assessment (CBA) system that assesses in detail the cognitive underpinnings of the progress students make in constructing understanding of mathematical ideas in grades 1-5. CBA has three components: (1) Descriptions of core ideas and reasoning processes in elementary school mathematics. (2) For each core idea, theoretical frameworks that describe the cognitive processes, milestones, and developmental landscapes for the idea. (3) For each core idea, assessment items that reveal students' cognitions and precisely locate students' positions in learning trajectories for the idea. In Phase 2, which has just begun, the team has begun studying how elementary teachers learn and make pedagogical sense of research as depicted in CBA (and similar) materials. The project is investigating: (a) teachers' understandings of students' mathematical thinking before and after instruction on that thinking, (b) the processes by which teachers learn about students' mathematical thinking while participating in instruction on that thinking, (c) factors affecting teachers' learning of this material, and (d) effects of learning this material on teachers' conceptualizations of mathematics learning, teaching, and assessment.

About the presenter:

Michael T. Battista, Ph.D. Purdue University, is Professor of Mathematics Education in the College of Education at Michigan State University. He has taught mathematics to students of all ages, from preschool through adult, and has been involved in mathematics teacher education both at the preservice and inservice levels. Most of his research has focused on students' learning of geometry and geometric measurement, and the use of technology in mathematics teaching. He has served on the editorial panel for the Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, is one of the authors of the elementary mathematics curriculum, Investigations in Number, Data, and Space, co-directed summer workshops in the PMET program (Preparing Mathematicians to Educate Teachers), and is currently serving a three-year term on NCTM's Research Committee.

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"Video Clubs and the Development of Mathematics Teachers' Professional Vision"

Miriam G. Sherin
Northwestern University

Tuesday, January 16, 2007
12:00-1:30 p.m.
Brownlee Room
University of Michigan, School of Education

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Abstract:

Dr. Sherin works on developing teachers' "professional vision" through video clubs. After defining professional vision (teachers' ability to notice and interpret significant features of classroom interactions), Sherin discusses how professional vision develops in video clubs, and the influence of this vision on teachers' practices during instruction. An important aspect of this work, which she discusses, is what the project team is learning about how to select video clips that seem to prompt teachers to have productive discussions of student thinking.

About the presenter:

Miriam Gamoran Sherin is Associate Professor of Learning Sciences in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University. Her interests include mathematics teaching and learning, teacher cognition, and the use of video for teacher learning. Recent articles appear in Cognition and Instruction, Teaching and Teacher Education, and the Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education. In 2001, Miriam received a postdoctoral fellowship from the National Academy of Education and in 2002 she was awarded a Career Grant from the National Science Foundation. In April, 2003, Miriam received the Kappa Delta Pi/American Educational Research Association Division K Award for early career achievements in research on teaching and teacher education.

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"Where is the Role for Knowledge in Teaching?"

Mary M. Kennedy
Michigan State University

Tuesday, January 30, 2007
12:00-1:30 p.m.
Brownlee Room
University of Michigan, School of Education

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Abstract:

Mary Kennedy has been studying teaching and teacher knowledge for several years and has applied a variety of methodological lenses in her research. In this talk she contrasts two of her most recent efforts, one a meta analysis of studies of the relationship between teachers' college-course-taking and their students' achievement, the other a very open-ended interview study in which teachers talked about what they thought about during specific teaching moments and what influenced their pedagogical decisions. Kennedy uses these two very different studies to raise questions about the role of knowledge in teaching and to offer some tentative answers.

About the presenter:

Mary M. Kennedy is a professor in the Department of Teacher Education at Michigan State University. She came to MSU in 1986 to direct the National Center for Research on Teacher Learning. Since that time, she has been interested in questions about the nature of teaching and how external events--things like teacher education programs, policies and research--can or do influence teaching. Before coming to MSU, she was engaged in a variety of program evaluation and policy analysis activities at both the state and federal level. You can find out more about her work at http://www.msu.edu/~mkennedy/publications/

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"Student Perceptions of and Engagement with Mathematics Reform Practices"

Dr. Carol Malloy
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Tuesday, February 13, 2007
12:00-1:30 p.m.
Brownlee Room
University of Michigan, School of Education

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Abstract:

In 2002 Malloy and two other colleagues, Meece and Hamm, completed data collection for a major three-year study, funded by the National Science Foundation, to examine the ways in which mathematics reform instruction shapes students' development as mathematics knowers and learners during the middle grades years.  Few studies have investigated the impact of reform instruction on student achievement and conceptual understanding by looking at the teachers' instructional practices and classroom norms established for mathematics teaching and learning.  The results of this study document changes in students' learning and self-conceptions in middle grades mathematics classrooms, as well as document the processes by which those changes occur.

About the presenter:

Carol E. Malloy's major research interests are mathematics learning, cultural influences on the cognitive development of African American students on mathematics learning, pedagogical interactions of teachers and students that lead to understanding and achievement in mathematics, and effects of national school reform on student learning.  Malloy's past research include mathematics problem solving strategies of successful African American students, resiliency of learners as a key to success in learning Algebra I, and the capacity building, implementation, and success of the Comer School Development Program have resulted in major books and publications.

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"The Role of Mathematics Curriculum in Large-Scale Reform "

Dr. Mary Kay Stein
University of Pittsburgh

Tuesday, March 13, 2007
12:00-1:30 p.m.
Brownlee Room
University of Michigan, School of Education

 

 
Mary Kay Stein
 

Abstract:

In mathematics education, curricula have historically been viewed as a key vehicle for infusing new ideas about teaching and learning into practice on a large scale.  Presently, curriculum adoption decisions are typically framed as a choice between standards-based and conventional curricula.  In this talk, I will present a set of dimensions along which standards-based curricula might differ from one another in ways that matter for large-scale teacher change.  After providing an example of how two elementary curricula differ from each other, I  discuss how those differences might interact with various organizational features of schools and districts, including teacher human and social capital.  I'll conclude with a discussion of planned qualitative and quantitative analyses for testing these propositions.

About the presenter:

Mary Kay Stein holds a joint appointment as Professor in the School of Education and Senior Scientist at the Learning Research and Development Center, both at the University of Pittsburgh.  Over the past decade, her research has transitioned from an exclusive focus on classroom-based mathematics teaching and learning to research that seeks to understand how institutional, interpersonal and policy contexts shape teachers' learning and their practice.  Her work has been published in the Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, the American Educational Research Journal, Teachers College Record, Urban Education, and the Harvard Educational Review. She is the lead author of a widely used casebook for mathematics professional development, Implementing Standards-Based Mathematics Instruction and co-author of a book on educational reform in San Diego (Reform as Learning). Dr. Stein has served on several national panels including the National Academy of Education's Panel on Strengthening the Capacity of Research to Impact Policy and Practice, and NCTM's Standards Impact Research Group.

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