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The Role of the Facilitator in Promoting Meaningful Discourse Among Professional Learning Communities of Secondary Mathematics and Science Teachers


This report describes the construct of decentering and its influence on the discourse of a professional learning community (PLC) of secondary mathematics teachers. We used decentering as a construct to describe a behavior in which one attempts to understand the mathematical thinking and/or perspective of someone else. Analysis of data from four PLCs over two semesters revealed that a PLC facilitator's ability to decenter influenced the quality of mathematical discourse in the PLC. As a facilitator's ability to decenter increased, the discourse among members of the PLC became more meaningful. In addition, the degree to which a facilitator decentered when interacting with other PLC members appeared to be influenced by the facilitator's understanding of the topic under discussion. This research is informing the instructional design for PLCs and PLC facilitator training. The findings also have the potential to contribute to the theoretical construct of decentering.