The evolution of a child study assignment: a potential approach to developing elementary mathematics teachers’ professional noticing

Wendy M. Smith*, Heidi L. Beattie, Lixin Ren, Ruth M. Heaton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The ability to notice students’ mathematical thinking is key to better understanding student learning and effective teaching. Our professional development program utilized a Child Study Assignment in an attempt to strengthen K–3 teacher noticing. We applied principles of improvement science to improve this assignment to better support the development of teachers’ noticing skills. In this article, we first describe the Child Study Assignment and adjustments made to the assignment across time. Next, we provide suggestions for how this assignment might be adapted in other contexts. Lastly, we present teachers’ perceptions of the usefulness of the Child Study Assignment. Teachers in our professional development program reported that the assignment offered valuable learning experiences, and they often shared their experience with other educators. As teacher educators, we also are able to reflect on our practices with the assignment and use our reflections to improve our efforts to promote teacher noticing. The Child Study Assignment and this process of continual reflection and adaptation may offer teacher educators a useful tool to improve mathematics teachers’ noticing skills, as well as an example of how to revise a professional development activity to better support teachers in meeting program goals.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Early Childhood Teacher Education
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020
Externally publishedYes

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