Funded Grants

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


Teacher Learning to Enact Productive Discussions in Mathematics and Literacy

Website: View Project Website


Grantee: University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Project Manager: Mary Kay Stein, Ph.D.
Grant Title: Teacher Learning to Enact Productive Discussions in Mathematics and Literacy
Program Area: Understanding Human Cognition
Grant Type: Teachers as Learners
Year Awarded: 2017
Duration: 5 years

Project Summary:

Rigorous and interactive classroom discussions are clearly critical to student learning and a set of key teaching practices for orchestrating such discussion have been identified. But little is known about how teachers learn to enact these practices. In particular, in coaching contexts, we lack knowledge regarding how teacher thinking that is catalyzed in one setting (lesson planning and lesson debrief sessions) transfers, enables, or shapes teacher thinking during classroom instruction. The purpose of the proposed interdisciplinary work is to develop, iteratively refine, and test a cognitive framework that describes mechanisms by which teacher-coach interactions shape teachers’ uptake of discussion practices during lessons. We will begin our search for cognitive mechanisms with analogical reasoning, a highly-studied process that has proven to be central in meaning-making, schema-development, and transfer in various areas of professional case-based learning. Our research questions for teacher learning:

  1. Phase-1 (Extant Data; Yrs. 1+2): What forms of analogy (or other cognitive mechanisms) appear to be at play during the coach-teacher interactions immediately preceding positive behavioral changes in classroom practices (i.e., observable uptake of the key practices in lesson videos)?
  2. Phase-2 (New Coaching Routine + Intensive Real-Time Data; Yrs. 3+4): How and to what extent can the identified mechanisms be embedded in tools and protocols and enacted by expert coaches and with what effect?
  3. Phase-3 (Coach Training; Yr. 5): How, under what conditions, and with what effects (on teacher- and coach-learning) are the above tools and protocols adapted by less-expert coaches across diverse contexts?

  • Project Manager: Mary Kay Stein, University of Pittsburgh
  • Christian Schunn, University of Pittsburgh
  • Lindsay Clare Matsumura, University of Pittsburgh
  • Richard Correnti, University of Pittsburgh
  • Jennifer Lin Russell
  • Victoria Bill
  • Dena Zook-Howell