Noticing and Wondering: A Language Structure to Support Mentoring Conversations
Teachers and mathematics teacher education scholars have identified field experiences and quality mentoring as influential components of math teacher preparation and development. Yet, quality mentoring is a complex and demanding practice. Providing educative feedback to novices, particularly that which encourages reflection versus evaluation, can be challenging work for mentors. To study the potential of an intervention for providing professional development for mentors, I worked with pairs of mentors and prospective teachers (PSTs) offering Smith’s (2009) noticing and wondering language as a way of structuring mentoring conversations that maintain both descriptive and interpretive analytic stances. Analysis of before and after conversations provided evidence of how mentor-PST pairs adopted noticing and wondering language, and in particular illuminated the ways in which the language structure might support interpretive mentoring conversations for studying teaching. The results suggest that mathematics teacher educators may want to consider what makes wondering challenging work and how to best support wondering in educative mentoring conversations.
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Using visuals is a well-known strategy
to teach emergent bilinguals (EBs). This study examined how preservice teachers
(PSTs) implemented visuals to help EBs understand mathematical problems and how
an innovative intervention cultivated PSTs’ capability of using visuals for
EBs. Four middle school mathematics PSTs were engaged in a field experience with
EBs to work on mathematical problems; during the field experience, the PSTs
received interventions. In one intervention session, the PSTs were asked to
make sense of a word problem written in an unknown language with different
visuals. After this intervention, they changed their use of visuals when
modifying tasks for EBs. The results suggest that immersive experiences where
PSTs can experience learning from the perspective of EBs helps PSTs implement
mathematically meaningful visuals in a way that makes mathematical problems
accessible to EBs.
Related MTE Podcast
More than ever, mathematics coaches are being called on to support teachers in developing effective classroom practices. Coaching that influences professional growth of teachers is best accomplished when mathematics coaches are supported to develop knowledge related to the work of coaching. This article details the implementation of the Decision-Making Protocol for Mathematics Coaching (DMPMC) across 3 cases. The DMPMC is a framework that brings together potentially productive coaching activities (Gibbons & Cobb, 2017) and the research-based Mathematics Teaching Practices (MTPs) in Principles to Actions: Ensuring Mathematical Success for All (NCTM, 2014) and aims to support mathematics coaches to purposefully plan coaching interactions. The findings suggest the DMPMC supported mathematics coaches as they worked with classroom teachers while also providing much-needed professional development that enhanced their coaching practice.