Preservice Teachers Decomposing Ambitious Mathematics Teaching: Video Analysis and Professional Learning Communities

Preservice Teachers Decomposing Ambitious Mathematics Teaching: Video Analysis and Professional Learning Communities

Jennifer M. Suh (George Mason University, USA) and Melissa A. Gallagher (University of Louisiana at Lafayette, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3068-8.ch003


We examined preservice teachers' experiences during a clinically embedded mathematics methods course, specifically examining the impact of video-based professional learning structures using the Mathematical Quality of Instruction (MQI; Learning Mathematics for Teaching, 2014) instruments on their collaborative planning and collective observations. Preservice teachers co-taught the summer PDS Math Lab within a Professional Learning Community with structured observations with video analysis that entailed: a) Collaborative planning; b) Structured Observations targeting instructional analysis focused on ambitious teaching practices; c) Use of the MQI that focused on the richness of mathematics. The authors detail the specific affordances of the structured observation with video analysis in a math methods course in a teacher preparation program and how the clinically embedded coursework supported preservice teachers' decomposition of ambitious teaching and bridge practitioner and academic knowledge.
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Literature Background

Preparing preservice teachers to enact ambitious mathematics instruction can be challenging because of the complexities of teaching as well as the challenge of finding inservice teachers who are modeling ambitious mathematics instruction in the classrooms in which the preservice teachers can observe. (Lampert, Beasley, Ghousseini, Kazemi, & Franke, 2010). To support our preservice teachers’ ability to enact ambitious instruction, we embedded our math methods course in clinical practice and required preservice teachers to engage in cycles of structured observation and reflection (Gallagher, Suh, & King, 2017) supported by video. Throughout the course, the preservice teachers also engaged with their peers in professional learning communities (PLCs) to co-plan, co-teach, and co-reflect on one mathematics lesson. In this chapter we explore the affordances of video-based reflection and PLCs that helped develop preservice teachers’ development of professional vision of mathematics teaching and learning.

For more than 50 years, reports evaluating the state of teacher education in the U.S. have made a similar recommendation: to increase clinical practice experiences for preservice teachers (AACTE, 2017; Carnegie Forum on Education and the Economy, 1986; Holmes Group, 1986; Holmes Group, 1995; Koerner, 1963; NCATE, 2010). Recently, the NCATE Blue Ribbon Panel Report (2010) called for teacher preparation to be resituated in clinical contexts. A number of recommendations exist for how to embed university methods courses in clinical practice. The most recent are the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education’s (AACTE) Clinical Practice Commission’s proclamations for clinical practice. In particular, the Pedagogy Proclamation states that “the intentional integration of embedded pedagogical coaching into an educator preparation program is the cornerstone of effective clinical practice” (AACTE, 2017, p. 1). More specific recommendations for how to embed coursework, such as the pedagogies of practice (Yendol-Hoppey & Franco, 2014), suggest: (a) focusing observations on specific practices, (b) scaffolding preservice teachers’ enactment of instructional practice through coaching by mentor teachers and/or university supervisors, (c) ensuring opportunities for co-teaching, (d) engaging in inquiry, and (e) supporting reflection.

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