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Perspectives on instructor modeling in mathematics teacher education


Teachers' instructional practices are greatly shaped by their own learning experiences as students in K-12 and college classrooms, which for most teachers was traditional, teacher-centered instruction. One of the challenges facing mathematics education reform is that, traditional teaching is in contrast to reform student- centered instruction. If teachers learn from their experiences as mathematics students, mathematics teacher educators are encouraged to model practices they would like teachers to use. In this study I examined the implications of instructor modeling in mathematics teacher education courses. More specifically, I investigated what practicing teachers gained from mathematics teacher educators' modeling in mathematics teacher education courses. My questions were: (1) What do mathematics teacher educators believe they model about effective instructional practice? (2) What do practicing teachers notice about the mathematics teacher educators' pedagogy and identify as effective mathematics teaching? (3) In what ways do these perspectives align in mathematics courses for practicing teachers? I drew upon three-step- design methodology with stimulated recall interviews and complementary accounts methodology to explicate three mathematics teacher educators' reports of the ways they model teaching practice. I utilized these methodologies to analyze the researcher's, and the practicing teachers' perspectives on the mathematics teacher educators' instruction. In general the mathematics teacher educators and practicing teachers reported that the mathematics teacher educator modeled student-centered instruction as conveyed in the NCTM Professional Standards for Teaching Mathematics (1991), but also facets of the collaborative work of teachers outside of the classroom. This work outside of the classroom might include teachers collaboratively planning instruction, reflecting on practice, creating and reflecting on new practices, and supporting one another's professional growth. This research informs the body of knowledge about teaching the practice of teaching mathematics in two ways. First, it highlights how explicit discussion about mathematics teaching and implicit modeling of instruction supports practicing teachers' noticing of the instruction they experience. And second, this research points to how engaging in facets of the teaching profession that take place outside of their interactions with students has the potential to foster the enculturation of teachers into a professional learning community of mathematics teachers

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