Using video representations of teaching in practice-based professional development programs

Abstract

This article explores how video can be used in practice-based professional development (PD) programs to serve as a focal point for teachers’ collaborative exploration of the central activities of teaching. We argue that by choosing video clips, posing substantive questions, and facilitating productive conversations, professional developers can guide teachers to examine central aspects of learning and instruction. We draw primarily from our experiences developing and studying two mathematics PD programs, the Problem-Solving Cycle (PSC) and Learning and Teaching Geometry (LTG). While both programs feature classroom video in a central role, they illustrate different approaches to practice-based PD. The PSC, an adaptive model of PD, provides a framework within which facilitators tailor activities to suit their local context. By contrast, LTG is a highly specified model of PD, which details in advance particular learning goals, design characteristics, and extensive support materials for facilitators. We propose a continuum of video use in PD from highly adaptive to highly specified and consider the affordances and constraints of different approaches exemplified by the PSC and LTG programs.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Designed by Nanette Seago, a one-page lesson graph maps a concise development of the mathematics as it unfolds through the dynamics of teacher and student interactions across time during the lesson. The lesson graph provides context for the video clips, as well as representations of the mathematics in motion.

  2. 2.

    All teacher and school names used in discussions of the iPSC project are pseudonyms.

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Acknowledgments

The project “Toward a Scalable Model of Mathematics Professional Development: A Field Study of Preparing Facilitators to Implement the Problem-Solving Cycle” is funded by the National Science Foundation award No. DRL 0732212. The project “Learning and Teaching Geometry: VideoCases for Mathematics Professional Development” is funded by the National Science Foundation award No. DRL 0732757.

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Correspondence to Hilda Borko.

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Borko, H., Koellner, K., Jacobs, J. et al. Using video representations of teaching in practice-based professional development programs. ZDM Mathematics Education 43, 175–187 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11858-010-0302-5

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Keywords

  • Professional Development
  • Video Clip
  • Instructional Practice
  • Professional Development Program
  • Student Thinking