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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19136

Title: Content and Context: Professional Learning Communities in Mathematics
Authors: Vause, Lyn
Advisor: Cameron, Linda
Department: Curriculum, Teaching and Learning
Keywords: mathematics
professional development
professional learning communities
Issue Date: 25-Feb-2010
Abstract: Abstract: This is a case study of a mathematics professional learning community. It illustrates the experience of eight Grade 2 teachers as they collaborate to improve their students'understanding of mathematics. In this inquiry, I worked as a participant-observer with the teachers over the course of five months as a witness to their expanding understanding of mathematics and learning. The case study describes two manifestations: the experiences of the teachers as they develop their knowledge of the mathematical learning of young children; and secondly, the teachers' growth as a professional learning community committed to improving the mathematical understanding of their students and of themselves. Collectively, the findings from this study extend other conversations on both professional learning communities and the development of teachers' knowledge about mathematical learning (often called pedagogical content knowledge). This work shows that opportunities for professional learning that are self-directed, context and content specific, within a milieu that is collegial and supportive, enable teachers to bridge the elusive gap between theory and practice. The specific questions addressed are as follows: 1. How does participation in a professional learning community affect teachers‘ iii pedagogical content knowledge and their understanding of students‘ learning of mathematics? 2. How do primary teachers develop an effective mathematics professional learning community? In mathematics, professional development often focuses on the creation of effective lesson design. This study differed in some key ways. Although good lesson design was valued and employed, the stimulus for teacher learning was the observation of the students as they struggled with new complex concepts. From these observations, the teachers became astute at recognizing particular consistencies and inconsistencies in the mathematical learning of the one hundred plus students they each observed within this project. Together, as a professional learning community, the teachers became adept at using external resources such as research and other resource materials to search the reasons and solutions for students‘ difficulty with mathematical concepts. Teachers' cognitive dissonance as they tried new instructional approaches and shared successes and failures with their colleagues provided the foundation for their growth in pedagogical content knowledge.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19136
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning - Doctoral theses

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