Enhancing Teacher Preparation in Elementary Mathematics through a Research-based Framework for Teacher-facilitated Discussions

Project: Research project

Project Details


With support from the NSF Improving Undergraduate STEM Education Program: Education and Human Resources (IUSE: EHR), this project aims to serve the national interest by improving the education of undergraduate preservice elementary teachers. Classroom discussions are valuable teaching approaches that can promote active engagement with a topic, exploration of reasoning about a topic, and consideration of alternative ideas or approaches. This project will investigate whether teaching preservice elementary teachers how to use discussion-based pedagogy improves the quality of mathematics instruction in their classrooms. Specifically, it will adapt a small-group, teacher-facilitated discussion approach, known as Quality Talk (QT), for use by teacher educators in STEM methods courses and classroom-based field experiences for future elementary school teachers. Including QT in the education of preservice teachers is expected to help them learn mathematics concepts, as well as how to use effective discussion-based teaching approaches in their own classrooms.

This five-year project aims to: (1) enhance the professional vision of teacher educators by bolstering their discussion-intensive pedagogical content knowledge and efficacy; and (2) increasing the mathematical proficiency of preservice teachers by increasing their mathematical reasoning and understanding through content-rich discussions and developing mathematics-rich STEM pedagogy. The adaptation of QT for preservice teacher education will be investigated through a series of four mixed methods studies in the first four years of the award, with a focus on broad dissemination in Year Five. Participants (teacher educators and preservice teachers) will be drawn from six Pennsylvania State system campuses and two types of teacher preparation settings (professional development school and traditional). Findings and products, including a QT Toolbox, will be disseminated to practitioners and researchers through publications, presentations, data sharing, and a dedicated website. The project has the potential to provide needed research regarding ways to foster teacher educators professional vision for advancing preservice teachers' discussion-intensive mathematical proficiency and emergent STEM pedagogy so that elementary mathematics instruction can be improved. Expected project outcomes include increasing the ability of teacher educators to support other educators in improving instructional practices, changing teacher education models and practices to advance preservice teachers' mathematical understandings and reasoning, and supporting preservice teachers' development of effective STEM pedagogy. The project aims to positively impact society by improving the STEM education community's capacity to meet 21st century pedagogical expectations by examining the effectiveness of QT for teacher education, providing online access to QT materials, increasing sustainability of QT through propagation to diverse settings, and disseminating findings widely. The NSF IUSE: EHR Program supports research and development projects to improve the effectiveness of STEM education for all students. Through the Engaged Student Learning track, the program supports the creation, exploration, and implementation of promising practices and tools. The Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship program is providing co-funding for this project in recognition of its alignment with the broader teacher preparation goals of the Noyce effort.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Effective start/end date7/1/196/30/24


  • National Science Foundation: $1,979,290.00


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