Funded Grants

Understanding Teacher Change and Teachers as Learners in K-12 Classrooms


Advancing Teachers’ Pedagogical Reasoning and Practices with Tools


Grantee: University of Wisconsin - Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
Project Manager: Hala Ghousseini, Ph.D.
Grant Title: Advancing Teachers’ Pedagogical Reasoning and Practices with Tools
Program Area: Understanding Human Cognition
Grant Type: Teachers as Learners
Year Awarded: 2017
Duration: 5 years

Project Summary:

While classroom discourse plays an essential role in inquiry-oriented instruction, most U.S. classrooms are permeated with practices that constrain productive discourse. This project aims to understand how teachers' thinking and sensemaking may support or constrain their learning to promote disciplinary argumentation. We study this problem in the context of practice-based professional development (PBPD), which centers teacher learning on the activities that characterize their daily work. To date, research on PBPD has focused on its design elements and teachers' opportunities to learn, with less attention to teachers'sensemaking processes around core practices such as eliciting and responding to student thinking and ways of knowing. We have designed instructional activities that support teachers in learning evidence-based teaching practices. Enactment tools—protocols or frameworks that can support teachers’ understanding and their enactment of teaching—complement these activities. Using a distributed cognition perspective, we treat enactment tools as cognitive artifacts that embody teachers’ understandings of ideas and practices. We examine what teachers’ engagement with enactment tools reveals about how they learn and make sense of facilitating classroom disciplinary argumentation; how teachers’ engagement with tools reflects their developing knowledge about facilitating classroom discourse; and what knowledge, goals, beliefs, and resources teachers, across career stages and content areas, bring to their work on disciplinary argumentation. Understanding the role of tools in embodying and facilitating teacher learning can inform PBPD and efforts to improve instruction in K–12 classrooms.

  • Project Manager: Hala Ghousseini, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Elizabeth Dutro, University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Sarah Schneider Kavanagh, University of Pennsylvania
  • Elham Kazemi, University of Washington, Seattle