Funded Grants

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


Teachers Learning to Facilitate Communication and Reasoning Through Inquiry with History and Social Science Sources


Grantee: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
Project Manager: Chauncey Monte-Sano, Ph.D.
Grant Title: Teachers Learning to Facilitate Communication and Reasoning Through Inquiry with History and Social Science Sources
Program Area: Understanding Human Cognition
Grant Type: Teachers as Learners
Year Awarded: 2017
Duration: 5 years

Project Summary:

We will study teachers’ learning as they implement an inquiry-oriented social studies curriculum that supports middle school students’ growth in reasoning through talk and writing with sources. Such Inquiry Teaching (IT) calls for complex modes of communication and challenging instructional practices that differ from norms. We use a cognitive science perspective to understand what knowledge, beliefs, attitudes, and skills are associated with teachers’ uptake of core instructional practices that support students’ communication and argument writing. Over five years, we will design and refine professional development based on conjectures about salient features of the learning environment and how those function to support teacher learning in context. We will develop and validate measures of teacher thinking and classroom enactment, pilot these with 30 teachers, and then study 20 teachers over three years in a new context. In both sites we will study a representative group of 6-8 teachers as they learn to enact social studies IT. We hypothesize that teachers’ uptake of IT is guided by their metacognitive thinking about the disciplinary tasks, how their diverse students engage with the tasks, and how their instruction can support students, as well as their skills in doing disciplinary work and enacting instructional practices. We will explore teachers’ thinking, how it relates to enactment of core practices, and how their thinking and instructional practices change over time as they engage in cycles of professional development and enactment. This will enable us to create and share robust models of professional development with the social studies community.

  • Project Manager: Chauncey Monte-Sano, University of Michigan
  • Mary Schleppegrell, University of Michigan
  • Anne Britt, Northern Illinois University
  • Amanda Durik, Northern Illinois University
  • Chandra Alston, University of Michigan
  • Ruth Chung Wei, Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity (SCALE)
  • Jeff Kabat, Scarlett Middle School
  • Kay Wade, Ann Arbor Public Schools
  • Gerald Vazquez, Scarlett Middle School
  • Lee Ann Dickinson-Kelley, Ann Arbor Public Schools
  • Sarah Thomson, University of Michigan