, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 217-236

Observing and Teaching Reform-Minded Lessons: What Do Teachers See?

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Abstract

We describe the way in which 12 primary-grade teachers responded to reform-minded teaching of multidigit addition and subtraction. Three teachers were hired to deliver 6–12 weeks of specially designed instruction; the other 9 teachers observed this instruction in their classrooms. Results of follow-up interviews showed that teachers who believed mathematics was more than a collection of skills and that students must construct their own understandings were inclined to interpret and appreciate the special instruction as the developers had intended. Teachers who believed mathematics was primarily a set of skills they must teach focused on a few individual features of the instruction, usually the use of physical materials, and, if they transferred any of the special instruction into their own teaching, often distorted the developers' intent. The more intensive involvement of the hired teachers led to more positive assessments of the instruction, but even here antithetical beliefs constrained later practice. Observations are provided on the nature of effective teacher development programs.

This revised version was published online in July 2006 with corrections to the Cover Date.