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Negotiating Identities for Mathematics Teaching in the Context of Professional Development

Melissa Sommerfeld Gresalfi and Paul Cobb 

May 2011, Volume 42, Issue 3, Page 270

This article presents an analytical approach for documenting the identities for teaching that mathematics teachers negotiate as they participate in two or more communities that define high-quality teaching differently. Drawing on data from the first two2 years of a collaboration with a group of middle school mathematics teachers, the article focuses on a critical initial condition for teachers to improve their practice—determining that the effort required is worthwhile. The results speak directly to a central issue that arises when supporting teachers’ efforts to improve their instructional practices: their motivation for affiliating with a vision of teaching that involves centering instruction on student thinking.