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Examining How Teachers Use Graphs to Teach Mathematics during a Professional Development Program

Abstract

"There are urgent calls for more studies examining the impact of Professional Development (PD) programs on teachers' instructional practices. In this study, we analyzed how grades 5-9 mathematics teachers used graphs to teach mathematics at the start and end of a PD program. This topic is relevant because while many studies have investigated students difficulties with graphs, there is limited research on how teachers use graphs in their classrooms and no research on how PD impacts the way teachers use graphs in class to teach mathematics. Participant teachers took three graduate level semester-long courses focused on mathematics and student mathematical thinking. The program provided teachers with multiple opportunities for exploration and discussion, systematic feedback, contexts for collaboration and collegial sharing, and extended follow-up support. We analyzed all lessons where teachers used graphs in class at the start and end of the program, finding that teachers' use of graphs was qualitatively more sophisticated in the end lessons. Results suggest that the features of the PD program had a positive effect on teachers' classroom practices regarding the use of graphs."

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