Scaffolding Ambitious Instruction: Teaching and Re-Teaching in a Methods Practicum

Scaffolding Ambitious Instruction: Teaching and Re-Teaching in a Methods Practicum

Rob Wieman (Rowan University, USA)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 26
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6249-8.ch014
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Pre-service teachers (PSTs) often have to plan and teach a lesson in a practicum setting as part of their methods class. This assignment is designed to give PSTs a chance to enact ambitious instruction; however, they often encounter obstacles that prevent them from engaging students in core disciplinary practices. A structure, based on lesson study, provides opportunities for PSTs to experience and identify these obstacles, revise their plans to address them, and engage in ambitious instruction while re-teaching the revised lesson. This structure also recasts initial lessons as opportunities to learn and improve through collaborative reflection. Examples of this structure are described, including features that contribute to PST learning and lesson improvements. Obstacles to ambitious instruction as well as strategies to overcome those obstacles are identified and discussed. Parallels are drawn between ambitious mathematics teaching and ambitious teacher education.
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For decades, a wide variety of stakeholders have called for more rigorous and ambitious learning goals for students. In particular, they have advocated that students develop conceptual understanding of ideas and discipline-specific methods of inquiry, and that they use those ideas and methods to solve a range of problems inside and outside of school settings (Gardner, 1983; National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching for the 21st Century, 2000; National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 2000, 2014). In response to these more ambitious learning goals, teacher educators expect PSTs to learn and practice ambitious instruction, instruction that supports students in making sense of fundamental ideas through enacting core disciplinary practices (Lampert, Franke, Kazemi, Ghousseini, Turrou, Beasley, . . . Crowe, 2013; Smith, Lee, & Newmann, 2001).

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