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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

Abstract:
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.