Funded Grants

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


How Teachers Learn: Orchestrating Disciplinary Discourse in Science, Literature, and Mathematics Classrooms


Grantee: University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Project Manager: Susan Goldman, Ph.D.
Grant Title: How Teachers Learn: Orchestrating Disciplinary Discourse in Science, Literature, and Mathematics Classrooms
Program Area: Understanding Human Cognition
Grant Type: Teachers as Learners
Year Awarded: 2017
Duration: 5 years

Project Summary:

This 5-year project investigates the mechanisms by which teachers learn to use the multiple forms of knowledge that promote dialogic and disciplinary discourse among students in science, literature, and mathematics classrooms. Prior work indicates that teachers need several kinds of knowledge to effectively orchestrate classroom discourse that reflects differences across disciplines in epistemology, practices, and content. Such knowledge includes:

  • discourse practices that elicit disciplinarily appropriate thinking
  • trajectories for students' acquisition of disciplinary practices and content
  • students' background knowledge and everyday discourse practices
  • interpersonal, power dynamics among students and their psychosocial needs.

The project team comprises researchers from several universities who bring multiple methodological and disciplinary perspectives, in collaboration with middle and high school teachers of science, literature or mathematics. We also have expertise in our team and advisory board with regard to linguistic diversity as a resource and its relevance for scaffolding disciplinary reasoning and the critical role of discussion in such efforts. Working together in urban and exurban schools serving culturally and linguistically diverse learners, the team will engage in three interrelated research areas:

MAPPING TEACHER LEARNING TRAJECTORIES (Years 1-2) through analyses of videos, artifacts from classroom interventions, and professional development from prior work.

IDENTIFYING LEARNING MECHANISMS AND BENCHMARKS (Years 2-4) via the creation of professional learning contexts that are sites of adaptive professional development where teachers work in disciplinary teams and share information across disciplines.

TRANSLATIONAL SCIENCE ACTIVITIES (Years 3-5) as we seek to disseminate knowledge gained from the teacher-researcher collaborations.

  • Project Manager: Susan R. Goldman, University of Illinois, Chicago
  • Alison Castro Superfine, University of Illinois, Chicago
  • Carol Lee, Northwestern University
  • MariAnne George, University of Illinois, Chicago
  • Monica Ko, University of Illinois, Chicago
  • James W. Pellegrino, University of Illinois, Chicago
  • Kathleen Pitvorec, University of Illinois, Chicago
  • Allison Hall, University of Illinois, Chicago
  • Angela Fortune, University of Illinois, Chicago
  • Yolanda Majors, The Hurston Group
  • Vera Wallace, Chicago Public Schools, Retired
  • Camille Elly, Teacher Team Member
  • Tamika Robinson, Teacher Team Member
  • Jasmine Thurmond, Teacher Team Member
  • Patrick Baldwin, Teacher Team Member
  • Stacy Kaspryzk, Teacher Team Member
  • Katie McIntyre, Teacher Team Member
  • Jessica Chambers Bunzol, Teacher Team Member
  • Rick Coppola, Teacher Team Member
  • Erin Knor, Teacher Team Member
  • Taylor Paluch, Teacher Team Member
  • Kristy Regan, Teacher Team Member
  • Leema Berland, University of Wisconsin – Madison
  • David Bloome, Ohio State University
  • Christian Faltis, Ohio State University
  • Ramon Martinez, Stanford University
  • Catherine O'Connor, Boston University
  • Catherine Snow, Harvard University
  • Louis Gomez, University of California - Los Angeles
  • William Penuel, University of Colorado - Boulder