Understanding Quality Work in Mathematics: Supporting Teachers in Leading Professional Development

Abstract

Teacher leaders are often responsible for providing professional development to improve teacher effectiveness and student learning.  Leading professional development for teachers can be highly effective when the focus is on student learning in on-going and relevant contexts. This article describes a school-based, teacher-led collaborative process conceptualized and facilitated by two teacher leaders using a modified protocol for examining students work in mathematics. The focus of the professional development aligned with a school-wide initiative of increasing the quality of students’ mathematical work across a kindergarten through eighth-grade school. This paper shares the structure of the professional development, the nature of the protocol, and how it was implemented followed by a discussion for teacher leaders who are interested in facilitating a similar type of collaborative professional development experience within their own schools. Findings suggest that the use of a well-developed protocol helped focus teachers’ attention to specific attributes expected in quality work and served as a reference point for considering how important structures of learning such as whole-class discourse could be evident in individual students’ quality work.

Keywords: Mathematics, Professional Development, Teacher Leaders

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