This project will convene mathematics teacher educators with different theoretical perspectives to develop a shared menu of research-supported practices and new research questions to explore that could improve mathematics methods courses.
Mathematics methods courses are a critical component of mathematics teacher education. One criticism of mathematics methods courses is that they vary widely across institutions and states. Mathematics methods courses differ with respect to what is taught, how it is taught, the intended learning goals, and how those learning goals are assessed. This variation is due, in part, to the different theoretical perspectives of mathematics teacher educators who teach these courses. The investigators of this Conference and Workshop grant propose to convene mathematics teacher educators with different theoretical perspectives to develop a shared menu of research-supported practices and new research questions to explore that could improve mathematics methods courses. The investigators' hypothesis is that by drawing from the research knowledge base when designing methods courses (using scholarly practices) and by studying these courses to add to the research knowledge base (conducting scholarly inquiry), mathematics teacher educators of any theoretical perspective can contribute to collective efforts to improve the quality and coherence of mathematics methods courses. The investigators intend to disseminate the conference findings to mathematics teacher educators and mathematics education researchers through conference presentations, publications, teacher educator association websites, and the project website. A particular strength of this work is that it addresses a need to prioritize scholarly practices and scholarly inquiry that could improve the quality and coherence of mathematics methods courses across theoretical perspectives, mathematics teacher educators, institutions, and states.
The Discovery Research K-12 (DRK-12) program seeks to significantly enhance the learning and teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by preK-12 students and teachers, through research and development of innovative resources, models, and tools. Projects in the DRK-12 program build on fundamental research in STEM education and prior research and development efforts that provide theoretical and empirical justification for proposed projects. Scholarly Inquiry and Practices (SIP) Conference for Mathematics Education Methods is a Conference and Workshop project that builds from the investigators' prior studies, which revealed compelling questions mathematics teacher educators and mathematics education researchers need to address in order to improve mathematics methods courses. The project will convene forty mathematics teacher educators who identify with social-political, situated, or cognitive theoretical orientations to set a direction for building scholarly inquiry and practices in mathematics methods courses. Before the conference, participants will author abstracts and reflections about their methods courses and will survey local mathematics teachers to identify critical issues they perceive with mathematics teacher education. At the conference, participants will identify with a preferred theoretical orientation and participate in discussions around four themes: theoretical perspectives; building scholarly practices; research for informing practice; and assessing impact and residue. Some participants will be selected to present their abstracts in poster presentation format. Investigators will provide additional commentary that highlight common ideas that emerge across perspectives. Participants will organize in thematic research and writing teams and continue to work after the conference on co-authoring articles and conference presentations. The articles will be disseminated in a comprehensive monograph or special issue in a research-focused journal. Investigators have been invited to also publish articles in practitioner-focused journals. Presentations at research and practitioner conferences are also planned.