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ERIC Number: ED524645
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 240
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1244-5150-3
Opportunities to Learn in and through Professional Development: An Analysis of Curriculum Materials
Sealy Badee, Jenny Tahirih
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Michigan
Professional development (PD) is key to improving mathematics teaching and learning in the middle grades. Many PD projects and initiatives have been undertaken across the United States. Yet, we know very little about what teachers learn in and through such PD, nor about what those who conduct the PD might be learning as well. This knowledge gap hinders efforts to design and deliver effective professional learning opportunities to mathematics teachers. This study addresses this gap by analyzing a selection of commonly used PD curriculum materials to ascertain the opportunities they provide for middle school mathematics teachers to learn ideas central to improving their instructional practice. Specifically it focuses on teachers' opportunities to learn about: the mathematical topics of proportionality, rational numbers, and linear functions; using multiple representations of mathematical ideas; and using cognitively demanding mathematical tasks in instruction. Due to the important role that professional developers play in supporting teacher learning and their limited opportunities to learn to do so, this study also explores the ways the curriculum materials are designed to support the learning of professional developers--that is, the extent to which they are educative. The study employed a survey to identify the PD curriculum materials most frequently used with middle school mathematics teachers in NSF-MSP projects across the country. Two analytic frameworks were developed and used to analyze the learning opportunities provided to teachers and professional developers in the curriculum materials. The analysis of teachers' learning opportunities revealed extensive opportunities to learn about proportionality, moderate opportunities to learn about rational numbers, and scarce opportunities to learn about linear functions; mixed opportunities to learn about using multiple representations, making strong connections between symbols, diagrams, and verbal descriptions, but little use of graphs; and mixed opportunities to learn about using cognitively demanding tasks in instruction, providing opportunities to reflect on the pedagogical issues associated with such use. The analysis of professional developers' learning opportunities revealed wide variance in the extent to which the materials are educative, with some materials offering very few opportunities and others offering extensive learning opportunities. The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States