There is a great need in the U.S. to both improve children's experiences with mathematics and to address elementary teachers anxiety around mathematics teaching. This project sought to respond to these needs by designing, conducting and evaluating a conference for elementary mathematics teacher educators. The conference was designed to help the teacher educators develop a pedagogy -- Complex Instruction (CI) -- that has been shown in research to both build mathematical content knowledge and to reduce anxiety around mathematics.
Research demonstrates that CI supports teachers in engaging all learners in challenging, important mathematics through the design of tasks that draw on diverse mathematical knowledge, that require students to justify their thinking, and that ask all students to take on significant roles during groupwork.
The Complex Instruction Conference held in February 2014 included 30 mathematics teacher educators from 17 different colleges of education. During the conference, participants wrote more than a dozen tasks using CI principles for use in university elementary mathematics methods or mathematics content courses. These tasks ranged in topic from geometry, to algebra, to operations, to pedagogical strategies. After the conference, the organizers conducted follow up surveys, interviews, and site visits to evaluate the impact of the conference. Since the conference, most participants have used at least one of the tasks in the courses they teach to prospective elementary teachers. The implementation of these tasks at multiple institutions has been video taped for future analysis. In addition, participants in the conference have continued to receive support from the organizers through a variety of digital formats.
The conference organizers and several participants presented tasks developed at the conference at the annual conference for American Mathematics Teacher Educators in order to disseminate the tasks more widely. The conference organizers plan to follow up with conference participants in larger scale studies to examine the impact of the use of these tasks on the learning and practice of prospective teachers.
Last Modified: 09/07/2016
Modified by: Amy N Parks