Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Ambitious Teaching Practice - Lampert, M., Boerst, T., & Graziani, F. (2011)

Lampert, M., Boerst, T., & Graziani, F. (2011). Organizational Resources in the Service of School-Wide Ambitious Teaching Practice. Teachers College Record, 113(7), 1361–1400.

Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 113 Number 7, 2011, p. 1361-1400 ID Number: 16072
Organizational Resources in the Service of School-Wide Ambitious Teaching Practice
by Magdalene Lampert, Timothy A. Boerst & Filippo Graziani

Challenges of Ambitious Teaching (pp 1364-7)
1. Teaching students to perform on authentic tasks needs to happen at the same time as teaching the basics (Kilpatrick, Swafford, Findell, National Research Council, 2001; Snow et al., 2005). Consequently, one challenge of ambitious teaching that occurs across subject matters is keeping different kinds of content on the table at the same time.

2. Assessment is a second challenge. Teachers with ambitious learning goals must do more than act reflexively on judgments of separate elements of students’ work as right or wrong according to an answer key. ... In mathematics, teachers need to know a broad spectrum of methods that students might invent to solve problems and what mathematical understanding is embedded in their inventions in order to assess competence and promote sense-making (Franke, Kazemi, & Battey, 2007).

3. A third challenge of making academically demanding work available to diverse students is adjusting teaching to what particular students are currently able to do (or not). Teachers teach a variety of different individuals in a common social setting, and in order to succeed with diverse learners, they need to find ways to “microadapt” based on continually assessing and learning about students as they teach (Corno, 2008).

4. In addition to these intellectual challenges, this kind of teaching also requires teachers across subject matter domains to manage more complex and risky forms of social organization (Cohen, 1998; Kennedy, 2007). ... adapting teaching to learning requires working in the relational space where students’ anxieties and fears can intrude on the learning process (Corno, 2008). Ambitious teachers need to lead discussions in which students learn from talking about ideas and enable students to engage productively in collaborative investigation with partners they might not chose as friends (Chapin, O’Connor, & Anderson, 2003; Kazemi, 1998; Rex, Murnen, Hobbs, & McEachen, 2002).


Social practice theory - pp. 1367-9
To understand how the challenges of ambitious teaching could be managed regularly at the level of the school, we needed to investigate not only what individual teachers could do to address them, but also what they can do routinely with their colleagues as part of a structured social system working on a joint enterprise using a common set of resources to meet common objectives. We employed the concept of a “social practice” to name this kind of system and to analyze the link between the existence of organizational resources in a school and the effects of the common work that occurs across individual teachers as they use them. A social practice takes shape as people interact with one another using the tools of their trade, developing a shared repertoire they can call upon to get their work done (Engeström & Middleton, 1998).

In clarifying how “social practice theory” is different from other kinds of cultural theories, Reckwitz (2002) emphasizes its focus on how the coordination of individual action with commonly available resources enables the coherent use of those resources.

In social practices, Reckwitz observes, these different kinds of resources interact to form a ‘block’ that cannot be reduced to a set of single elements. Social practice is more than just “talk”. It is built in the multidimensional terrain where practitioners interact in particular places in particular ways using particular objects.

Teachers who work on problems of practice together interpret what they see students doing through their common values, norms, rules, beliefs, and assumptions, and given that shared interpretation, individuals decide what to do (Little, 1982; Weick & McDaniel, 1989)


Three inter-related dynamics:
Teachers’ common commitments to ambitious goals
Teachers’ individual and collective use of resources to scaffold the practice of ambitious teaching
Teachers' social use of resources in planning and evaluations of lessons and students

In analyses of the lessons we observed, we examined in detail how individual teachers used the school’s resources to mediate the challenges of ambitious teaching in ways that were similar to what Lampert observed as a language-learning student. We noted the prevailing use of resources across routine phases of the work of teaching. Our analysis took into account three phases:
• planning: i.e., how teachers prepare for ambitious practice;
• instruction: i.e., what teachers do in interaction with subject matter and diverse students across time; and
• reflection: i.e., how teachers think about, talk about, learn from, evaluate and capture their insights about students and content from enacted practice.

During instruction, teachers use resources in social interactions with students to maintain and accomplish ambitious goals (Cohen, Raudenbusch, & Ball, 2003).

Fig 2 & 3
             Authentic       Analytic
Listening |               |               |
Speaking  |               |               |
Reading   |               |               |
Writing   |               |               |

In this article, we use the term “teaching” to refer to what teachers do in relationships with students and subject matter in environments. It is the teacher’s contribution to a phenomenon we will call “instruction” as defined by David Cohen, Steve Raudenbusch, and Deborah Ball: “Instruction consists of interactions among teachers and students around content in environments. . .‘Interaction’ refers to no particular form of discourse but to teachers’ and students’ connected work, extending through, days, weeks, and months. Instruction evolves as tasks develop and lead to others, as students’ engagement and understanding waxes and wanes, and organization changes (Lampert, 2001). Instruction is a stream, not an event, and it flows in and draws on environments — including other teachers and students, school leaders, parents, professions, local districts, state agencies, and test and text publishers.”(Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Summer, 2003, Vol 25, no.2, p.122)

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