Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education

, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 203–235 | Cite as

Teacher Learning in Mathematics: Using Student Work to Promote Collective Inquiry

  • Elham Kazemi
  • Megan Loef Franke


The study describes teachers' collective work in which they developed deeper understanding of their own students' mathematical thinking. Teachers at one school met in monthly workgroups throughout the year. Prior to each workgroup, they posed a similar mathematical problem to their students. The workgroup discussions centered on the student work those problems generated. This study draws on a transformation of participation perspective to address the questions: What do teachers learn through collective examination of student work? How is teacher learning evident in shifts in participation in discussions centered on student work? The analyses account for the learning of the group by documenting key shifts in teachers' participation across the year. The first shift in participation occurred when teachers as a group learned to attend to the details of children's thinking. A second shift in participation occurred as teachers began to develop possible instructional trajectories in mathematics. We focus our discussion on the significance of the use of student work and a transformation of participation view in analyzing the learning trajectory of teachers as a group.

children's mathematical thinking professional development school-wide inquiry sociocultural theory student work teacher learning 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ball, D.L. & Cohen, D.K. (1999). Developing practice, developing practitioners: Toward a practice-based theory of professional education. In L. Darling-Hammond & G. Sykes (Eds.), Teaching as the Learning Profession (pp. 3–31). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  2. Blythe, T., Allen, D. & Powell, B.S. (1999). Looking Together at Student Work. New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  3. Borko, H., Eisenhart, M., Brown, C.A., Underhill, R.G., Jones, D. & Agard, P.C. (1992). Learning to teach hard mathematics: Do novice teachers and their instructors give up too easily? Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 23, 194–222.Google Scholar
  4. Carpenter, Fennema, E., Franke, M.L., Levi, L. & Empson, S.B. (1999). Children's Mathematics: Cognitively Guided Instruction. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  5. Crespo, S. (2002, October). Teacher learning in mathematics: Teacher study groups. Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Psychology of Mathematics Education — North American Chapter (pp. 1439–1450). Athens, GA.Google Scholar
  6. Crockett, M.D. (2002). Inquiry as professional development: Creating dilemmas through teachers' work. Teaching and Teacher Education, 18, 609–624.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Driscoll, M. (1999). Fostering Algebraic Thinking. Westport, CT: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  8. Even, R. & Tirosh, D. (2002). Teacher knowledge and understanding of students' mathematical learning. In L. English (Ed.), Handbook of International Research in Mathematics Education (pp. 219–240). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  9. Fernandez, C., Cannon, J. & Chokshi, S. (2003). A US-Japan lesson study collaboration reveals critical lenses for examining practice. Teaching and Teacher Education, 19, 171–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Franke, M.L., Carpenter, T., Fennema, E., Ansell, E. & Behrend, J. (1998). Understanding teachers' self-sustaining, generative change in the context of professional development. Teaching and Teacher Education, 14, 67–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Franke, M.L. & Kazemi, E. (2001, April). Changing Teachers' Professional Work in Mathematics: One School's Journey. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Seattle.Google Scholar
  12. Greeno, J.G. & Middle School Mathematics Through Applications Project (1998). The situativity of knowing, learning, and research. American Psychologist, 53, 5–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Jaworski, B. (1994). Investigating Mathematics Teaching: A Constructivist Enquiry. London: Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  14. Kazemi, E. & Stipek, D. (2001). Promoting conceptual understanding in four upper-elementary mathematics classrooms. Elementary School Journal, 102, 59–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lave, J. (1996). Teaching, as learning, in practice. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 3, 149–164.Google Scholar
  16. Leinhardt, G. & Smith, D.A. (1985). Expertise in mathematics instruction: Subject matter knowledge. Journal of Educational Psychology, 77(3), 247–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lin, P. (2002). On enhancing teachers' knowledge by constructing cases in classrooms. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 5, 317–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Little, J.W. (1999). Organizing schools for teacher learning. In L. Darling-Hammond & G. Sykes (Eds.), Teaching as the Learning Profession: Handbook of Policy and Practice (pp. 233–262). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  19. Little, J.W. (2002). Locating learning in teachers' community of practice: opening up problems of analysis in records of everyday work. Teaching and Teacher Education, 18, 917–946.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Little, J.W. (in press). “Looking at student work” in the United States: Countervailing impulses in professional development. In C. Day & J. Sachs (Eds.), International Handbook on the Continuing Professional Development of Teachers. Buckingham, UK: Open University.Google Scholar
  21. Merriam, S.B. (1998). Qualitative Research and Case Study Applications in Education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  22. Richardson, V. (1990). Significant and worthwhile change in teaching practice. Educational Researcher, 19, 10–18.Google Scholar
  23. Rogoff, B. (1997). Evaluating development in the process of participation: Theory, methods, and practice build on each other. In E. Amsel & A. Renninger (Eds.), Change and Development (pp. 265–285). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  24. Rogoff, B., Baker-Sennett, J., Lacasa, P. & Goldsmith, D. (1995). Development through participation in sociocultural activity. In J.J. Goodnow, P.J. Miller, & F. Kessel (Eds.), Cultural Practices as Contexts for Development (pp. 45–65). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  25. Schifter, D. (1998). Learning mathematics for teaching: From a teachers' seminar to the classroom. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 1, 55–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Schifter, D., Bastable, V. & Russell, S.J. (1999). Developing Mathematical Ideas. Parsippany, NJ: Dale Seymour.Google Scholar
  27. Stein, M.K., Smith, M.S., Henningsen, M.A. & Silver, E.A. (2000). Implementing Standards-based Mathematics Instruction. New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  28. Strauss, A. & Corbin, J. (1998). Basics of Qualitative Research: Techniques and Procedures for Developing Grounded Theory. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  29. Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Wertsch, J.V. (1998). Mind as Action. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Wilson, S.M., & Berne, J. (1999). Teacher learning and the acquisition of professional knowledge: An examination of research on contemporary professional development. In A. Iran-Nejad & C.D. Pearson (Eds.), Review of Research in Education (Vol. 24, pp. 173–209). Washington, D.C.: American Educational Research Association.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elham Kazemi
    • 1
  • Megan Loef Franke
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Washington, College of EducationSeattleU.S.A.
  2. 2.University of CalforniaLos AngelesU.S.A

Personalised recommendations