1. The Question
What will I learn about collaborative professional development by getting together with math colleagues and doing math problems together?
2. The Statement of Purpose
In my previous school, part of my teaching schedule included a weekly meeting with the whole math department. Either the math coach or the assistant principal led the meetings, and during my first years of teaching, these meeting were especially valuable because they gave me the chance to collaborate with and learn from my colleagues in a formal setting. This past year was my first year at my current school, Jonas Bronck Academy, and we didn’t have weekly math team meetings. As a result, one of my biggest challenges this year was finding time to collaborate with the other math teachers at JBA. “Collaboration is increasingly identified as a key aspect in teachers’ professional growth. Education reformers have recommended placing more attention on collegial relations of teachers for the purpose of professional growth” (Little, 1992, as cited in Syn-Jong, 2006, p. 178). Through this research, I want to create a math learning group at JBA that will engage in constructivist mathematical problem solving. I hope that by getting together with other math colleagues at my school and doing math together, I can get a deeper understanding of what it means to participate in professional development and we can improve our math department at JBA.
I will take notes during our meetings to keep track of our discussions. I will also keep a reflective ongoing blog on my own observations on what I am learning about collaborative professional development with my math colleagues. I will also ask for feedback from my colleagues participating in the group, on their thoughts on collaboration before, during, and after participating in our learning group. In the analysis, I will look for concrete examples of any shifts in my thoughts on collaborative professional development.
Boalar, J., & Humphreys. (2005). Connecting mathematical ideas: Middle school video cases to support teaching and learning. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Fernandes, A, Keohler, J, & Reiter, H. (2011). Mathematics teachers circle around problem solving. Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School. 17(2), 109-115.
Hiebert, J., et al. (1997). Making sense: Teaching and learning mathematics with understanding. New Hampshire: Heinmann.
Little, J. W. (1993). Teachers’ professional development in a climate of education reform,
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. 15, 129 – 151.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). 2000. Principles and Standards for School Mathematics. Reston, VA: NCTM
Smith, M. S. (2001). Practice-based professional development for teachers of mathematics. Reston, VA: NCTM
5. Sharing my Research
I intend to share my research by documenting my observations on a Google Blog. I will post my thoughts and what I am learning about collaborative professional development after each math learning group meeting. I will also comment on if and how participating in this group is influencing my practice and my growth as a professional and leader. By sharing my research on a blog on the internet, I hope to also share collaborate with other teachers outside JBA.