Mathematics professional development for elementary teachers: Building trust within a school-based mathematics education community

Aug. 15, 2007

Source:  Teaching and Teacher Education, Volume 23, Issue 6, August 2007, Pages 970-984.


Despite increased attention in professional development to building communities of teachers, few studies have investigated the development of trust in these communities. This paper presents issues related to trust in a professional development project at an elementary school.

The project aimed for school-based elementary teachers and university-based mathematics educators to work together to improve mathematics instruction at the school by developing a mathematics education community of learners, where learners were conceived of as both the teachers and the mathematics educators.

This paper addresses the following question: What factors in the project supported the development of trust among mathematics educators and teachers as the community was formed? More specifically, the paper is about one aspect of trust, namely, building school-based elementary teachers’ trust in the university-based mathematics educators. We point to three factors that helped the development of trust and we use care theory to further understand and discuss these factors in the context of in-service teacher education initiatives.

Updated: Dec. 11, 2007