Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 5–36 | Cite as

Mathematics teachers’ learning: a conceptual framework and synthesis of research

  • Lynn T. GoldsmithEmail author
  • Helen M. Doerr
  • Catherine C. Lewis


How do practicing mathematics teachers continue to develop the knowledge and habits of mind that enable them to teach well and to improve their teaching over time? The question of how (and what) teachers learn lies at the crux of any effort to provide high-quality mathematics teaching for all students. This article reviews 106 articles written between 1985 and 2008 related to the professional learning of practicing teachers of mathematics. We offer a synthesis of this research, guided by Clarke and Hollingsworth’s (Teach Teach Educ 18(8):947–967, 2002) dynamic model of teacher growth. Their model emphasizes the recursive nature of teachers’ learning and suggests that growth in one aspect of teachers’ knowledge and practice may promote subsequent growth in other areas. We report the results in six major areas of teacher learning, identify several crosscutting themes in the literature, and make recommendations for future research aimed at understanding teachers’ professional learning.


Professional development Mathematics Teacher learning In-service teachers 



This paper is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grants DRL-0723340, DRL-0719627, and DRL-0722295. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. The authors thank four anonymous reviewers for their suggestions for strengthening this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lynn T. Goldsmith
    • 1
    Email author
  • Helen M. Doerr
    • 2
  • Catherine C. Lewis
    • 3
  1. 1.Education Development Center, Inc.WalthamUSA
  2. 2.Syracuse UniversitySyracuseUSA
  3. 3.Mills CollegeOaklandUSA

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