Responsive Teaching in Elementary Mathematics (RTEM)
This 4-year professional development design study involves 100 grades 3–5 teachers engaged in 3 years of professional development that is focused on children’s mathematical thinking. The goal is to characterize responsive teaching and its development and to explore links to student-learning gains.
- Highlights responsive teaching—when teachers’ instructional decisions about what to pursue and how to pursue it are continually adjusted during instruction in response to children’s content-specific thinking
- Focuses on children’s fractional thinking (Empson & Levi, 2011)
- development of understanding of fractions through equal-sharing division
- identification and flexible use of levels of units
- equivalence as relationships between fractional quantities
- relational thinking as implicit use of the fundamental properties of operations and equality
- Builds on research that has shown the power of instruction and professional development focused on children’s mathematical thinking, especially Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI)
- What characterizes teachers’ responsive teaching in fractions?
- How can professional development support the development of teachers’ responsive teaching?
- How is teachers’ responsive teaching related to student-learning gains?
- Teachers are involved in three years of professional development that includes:
- Workshops: 8.5 days (4.5 in the summer, 4 in academic year)
- School-based components: learning partner from their school, tasks to try with their students, and Collaborative Inquiry sessions (4 per year)
- Design Principles
- Teachers need opportunities to engage in and reflect on practices in multiple contexts (e.g., workshops, school-based conversations, their own classrooms, etc.)
- Teachers’ work with practices should be informed by a research-based framework with respect to development of children’s mathematical thinking in the domain of rational numbers—learning the framework is not an end in itself but in service of engagement in the practices
- Professional development activities need to be authentically linked to teachers’ work (e.g., use of classroom artifacts & interactions with children)