Source: Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, Vol. 18, p. 523–550 (2015)
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
In this study, the author aims to explore and support teachers’ movement through the early phases as they learn to attend to and reason about details of student algebraic thinking in the dynamic classroom environment.
This study takes place in the context of a video club in which seven preservice teachers watched and discussed video excerpts from algebra classes over an 8-week period. All of the participants were in their first summer of a 12-month alternative certification program in a Midwestern university. All of the participants had strong mathematical backgrounds and had taken courses beyond calculus in college.
The author used an Algebraic Thinking Framework (ATF) for noticing student algebraic thinking. The ATF created and used to structure the discussions in the video club. In addition, a new, online video-tagging tool was used to document the development of the teachers’ ability to notice student algebraic thinking.
The findings reveal that the framework allowed preservice teachers in this study to articulate their thinking about student algebraic thinking. In addition, the author found that participants’ conversations about student thinking became more substantive as they participated in a series of video club sessions.
Drawing on the findings from this research, the author suggests few ways to address the work of teachers in algebra classrooms. One is to broaden the types of algebraic thinking to which teachers attend. In other words, knowing how teachers reason about students engaged in different forms of algebraic thinking can help inform the design of professional development materials and tools.
Furthermore, keeping with that idea involves two processes—identification and interpretation—the author argues that the framework helped teachers by addressing both of these areas.
In this study, interviews with participants indicate that the framework helped them think more deeply about student thinking in early video club sessions. The majority of participants focused primarily on student thinking as early as the first meeting.
Finally, this work utilized a tagging tool to explore teacher noticing. The tool provided access to how participants’ noticing changed from one week to the next. In addition, through their comments, the author gains access to the reasons why a teacher tagged a particular moment.