Investigating the Learning of a Professional Development Team: The Years 1-3 Mathematics Probes Project

Carmel Diezmann, Jilian Fox, Eva de Vries, Dianne Siemon, Geraldine Norris

Abstract


This study examines the learning of a diverse team of five professional developers as
they led or supported a mathematics initiative. Although teachers are typically the
focus of learning in professional development, we contend that the learning of
professional developers is important and should not be overlooked. We examined
our learning as a professional development team through first-person inquiry which
drew on reflections, conversational accounts and other artefacts. These data sources
were used to create a first-person narrative which was analysed for learning
according to four domains of change in a model of teacher professional growth. Our
findings revealed that this project was rich in opportunities for learning including:
learning about mathematics pedagogy; learning about the potential for
miscommunication of a message; learning about the challenges of teachers working
across multiple agendas and systems trying to support these teachers; and learning
about the advantages of team work. Many of these learnings were fortuitous rather
than planned. Hence, we now appreciate the importance of being more conscious of
the potential for learning in the conduct of professional development projects and to
plan for this learning. The paper concludes with challenges for all who undertake or
access professional development services in mathematics education.

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