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Improving Mathematics Teaching: A Journey Beyond TIMSS Video Jim Stigler Ann Arbor September 27, 2006

Copyright Š 2006 Jim Stigler | Please do not distribute or use without permission


Today 

Nature of teaching –



What we have learned from TIMSS video

Implications for improving teaching

Copyright Š 2006 Jim Stigler | Please do not distribute or use without permission


Background: TIMSS Video   

Two large studies, started in 1993 Strategy: video survey Goals: – –

Investigate “average teaching” Compare teaching across countries

Copyright © 2006 Jim Stigler | Please do not distribute or use without permission


Three Things We Have Learned from TIMSS Video  

2.

3.

Teaching is a cultural activity; varies more across than within cultures (TIMSS 1995 video study; goals/scripts) – Learned implicitly – Hard to see (e.g., confusion) – Hard to change; culture wins Teaching is contextual; no one “best” way – TIMSS 1999 video study: what differentiates highachieving countries? – Example: organization of classroom Teaching quality is in the details of implementation

Copyright © 2006 Jim Stigler | Please do not distribute or use without permission


Example: Mathematics Problems  

Debate: understanding concepts vs. mastering basic skills Type of problems: – – –



Stating concepts Using procedures Making connections

Results…

Copyright © 2006 Jim Stigler | Please do not distribute or use without permission


Types of Problems Presented in Six Countries

Percent of Problems

100 84

77

80

69 61 54

60

57

41 40 24 20

15

16

17

13

0 AU

CZ

HK

Using procedures

JP

NL

US

Making connections

Copyright Š 2006 Jim Stigler | Please do not distribute or use without permission


How Making Connections Problems are Worked on in the Classroom

Percent of MC Problems

80 59

60

52

48

46 40

37 31 16

20

18

20

19

8 0

0 AU

CZ

HK

Using procedures

JP

NL

US

Making connections

Copyright Š 2006 Jim Stigler | Please do not distribute or use without permission


Underlying Problems Why do US teachers apparently fail to engage students with sustained opportunities to think about mathematics concepts?  Teachers lack content knowledge  Lack of models for how to engage students with concepts  Lack of curricular support: too many standards, lacking in coherence; textbooks that do not support conceptual connections

Copyright Š 2006 Jim Stigler | Please do not distribute or use without permission


Teaching Well Requires 

Knowledge –



Skill –



Content, pedagogical content, alternative strategies Capacity to implement, to link knowledge into practice

Judgment –

When to use which strategy with which students (requires analysis of cause/effect relations between teaching and learning)

Copyright © 2006 Jim Stigler | Please do not distribute or use without permission


Improving Teaching 



Teaching is a cultural activity. Improving teaching involves making sustainable improvements to cultural routine. (Daily routine as the workshop for change.) First step is to make teaching visible – – –

 

Broaden our conception of teaching (use cycle of teaching as lever for change) Discuss teaching with colleagues Ground discussions in actual practice: e.g., student work, videos

Next, engage teachers in identifying common student needs and crafting solutions (using all available resources) Finally, provide some means to accumulate and share professional knowledge (improving knowledge base)

Copyright © 2006 Jim Stigler | Please do not distribute or use without permission


Importance of Stable Settings 

Teaching will not improve unless we provide a time and place to do this work – – –

Regular and ongoing Job-alike groups 100% focus on improving instruction

Copyright © 2006 Jim Stigler | Please do not distribute or use without permission


Lesson Study

Revise

Plan

Student Learning Examine

Implement

Identifying Common Student Needs. Deliberately testing out new strategies to meet those needs.

Copyright Š 2006 Jim Stigler | Please do not distribute or use without permission


Ermeling (2005): Rob’s First Lesson

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Patty’s First Lesson (Ermeling, 2005)

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Lesson Analysis and Revision (Ermeling, 2005)

Patty’s insight

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Patty’s Second Lesson (Ermeling, 2005)

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Lesson Study: Reflections 



Demonstrates the power of focused planning and analysis to improve teacher knowledge and teaching in the classroom – a school where everyone does this is a self-improving school But in general, many schools not ready: – Lack sustainable contexts to support the work of improvement – Lack a culture that supports teacher collaboration – Lack tradition, therefore lack skills for, lesson study – Lack knowledge, expertise and images of alternative implementation Copyright © 2006 Jim Stigler | Please do not distribute or use without permission


Pathways to Lesson Study How do we get there? How do we become the “selfimproving school�?  Pre-service: prepare teachers with knowledge and skills to participate in learning/improvement process  Districts/schools: Start with settings and protocols: building implementation capacity  Provide teachers with opportunities to learn knowledge, skills, judgment  Recognize that schools are on developmental pathways; learn to see evidence of progress  

Copyright Š 2006 Jim Stigler | Please do not distribute or use without permission


Conclusion   



Improving teaching is necessary for improving student learning We know what it takes to improve teaching, but it is hard: not enough to just make teachers more knowledgeable Must also have stable settings where teachers can translate knowledge into improved practice in the classroom (incremental improvements in cultural routine) and continuous growth of student achievement Lesson study is culmination of a developmental pathway toward achieving these goals

Copyright Š 2006 Jim Stigler | Please do not distribute or use without permission


Questions/Comments

jims@lessonlab.com

Copyright Š 2006 Jim Stigler | Please do not distribute or use without permission


Improving math teaching  
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