Teacher preparation programs face significant challenges in providing secondary mathematics teacher candidates with quality clinical experiences. The problem is two-fold:
Over the past five years, the Clinical Experiences Research Action Cluster (CERAC) drawn from the Mathematics Teacher Education Partnership has been working to improve clinical experiences for secondary mathematics teacher candidates. Specifically, the RAC is answering the following research question: How does a continuum of collaborative and student-focused clinical experiences, including co-planning/co-teaching and paired placement fieldwork models, impact pre-service teachers’ equitable implementation of the Mathematics Teaching Practices (MTPs) (NCTM, 2014) across institutional contexts? The CERAC is using improvement science frameworks drawn from the networked improvement community (NIC) approach (Bryk, Gomez, Grunow, & LeMahieu, 2015); the NIC model is also used by the larger partnership (Martin & Gobstein, 2015). The CERAC consists of 27 university-led teams, each consisting of at least one mathematics teacher educator, a mathematician, and a school partner. The RAC is divided into three sub-RACs based on three types of field experiences: Methods, Paired Placement, and Co-planning and Co-teaching. Below is our Driver’s Diagram:
|Methods Sub-RAC||Paired Placement Sub-RAC||Co-Planning & Co-Teaching Sub-RAC|
University of Alabama Partnership:
Kennesaw State University:
California State University, Fullerton:
Middle Tennessee Partnership:
North Carolina West Partnership:
University of North Carolina—Charlotte:
California State University, Northridge:
University of North Dakota:
Columbus State University:
University of Hawai’i at Monoa:
Tampa Bay Area:
East Carolina University:
California State University, Chico:
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona:
Georgia State University:
California State University, Northridge:
California State University, Sacramento:
Ohio State University:
Black Hills State University:
In 2017 CERAC members were awarded funding from the National Science Foundation Directorate for Education & Human Resources Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE) – Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) Development & Implement, I & II: Engage Student Learning Grant ID#s: 1726998, 1726362, & 1726853. The grant is a collaborative grant between Auburn University, APLU, and the University of South Florida. Any opin. ions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. The work of the grant focuses on answering the research question mentioned above. More information about the grant can be found here.
The following sections provide updates related to the work that is being completed by each of the subRACs.
Early Field Experiences within Methods Sub-RAC
The methods sub-RAC is focused on strengthening the relationships between teacher candidates, university coursework and faculty, and most-importantly mentor teachers. The primary work of the methods team has been to develop, test, refine, retest, and finalize modules that connect the partners of mathematics teacher education critical to the development of teacher candidates’ abilities and knowledge to plan and impact each learner prior to student teaching. The modules’ work has centered on the Standards for Mathematical Practice (SMP) and the MTPs (NCTM, 2014) with a focus on ensuring opportunities for all learners. From 2012-2016, the SMP module resulted in a well-refined product which helped to improve mentor teachers’ views on the MTPs and positively influenced the relationships between teacher candidates and mentor teachers (Yow et al, 2019). Research related to the second module on lesson planning revealed that lessons implemented in mentor teacher classrooms have increased teacher candidates’ implementation of the MTPs and students’ engagement in SMPs as measured by the MCOP2 (Gleason, Livers, & Zelkowski, 2017; Zelkowski & Gleason; 2016). Mentor teachers have reported better understanding of what teacher candidates are expected to be able to learn and implement with respect to the MTPs (Zelkowski et al, 2020). A third module under development is focusing on the use of high-quality written feedback as a means to improve student learning towards mathematical goals with assessment (Zelkowski et al, 2020). For more information on the Methods Sub-RAC, please visit https://cerac-methods.ua.edu/.
Co-Plan/ Co-Teach Sub-RAC
Co-teaching is a pedagogical practice that promotes the collaboration and communication between teacher candidates and mentor teachers who share a common space in the organization, delivery, and assessment of instruction (Bacharch, Heck & Dahlberg, 2010). During clinical experiences, teacher candidates are actively involved in developing and implementing lessons with the guidance of the mentor teacher (Bacharch, Heck, & Dahlberg, 2010). The co-planning and co-teaching sub RAC members have engaged in multiple plan-do study-act (PDSA) cycles, in which they created instruments to measure co-teaching during clinical experiences, developed training resources to help mathematics teacher education programs enact the model, and examined the nature of institutional change as a result of using the model. We found that the use of co-teaching and co-planning increased learning opportunities for students and teacher candidates, developed teacher candidates’ confidence in their ability to become effective teachers of mathematics, as well as strengthened relationships between the university faculty and school personnel, thereby bridging research to practice.
Paired Placement Sub-RAC
The paired placement model for clinical teaching places two teacher candidates with one mentor teacher (Leatham & Peterson, 2010). Paired Placement is dubbed as a model of learning to teach that encourages collaboration, pedagogical risk taking, increased reflection, and better classroom management (Mau, 2013). Members of the paired placement sub-RAC have implemented the paired placement model across multiple institutions for five years and have used PDSA cycles to collect data before, during, and after the clinical teaching experience. PDSA cycles incorporate data from structured and unstructured interviews, surveys, teaching evaluations, and reflective journals. Teacher candidates participating in the model across different contexts have stated that they have become more collaborative, student-centered, and reflective practitioners. The paired placement subRAC has developed protocols for implementing the model, tips for the teacher candidates, and other resources to aid in the implementation of the model.
Early Field Experiences within Methods Sub-RAC
Co-Plan/ Co-Teach Sub-RAC
Paired Placement Sub-RAC
Resources for Getting Started
Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators. (2017). Standards for preparing teachers of mathematics. Retrieved online from https://amte.net/sites/default/files/SPTM.pdf
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Leatham, K., & Peterson, B. (2010). Secondary mathematics cooperating teachers’ perceptions of the purpose of student teaching. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 13, 99-119.
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Peterson, B., & Leatham, K. (2018). The structure of student teaching can change the focus of students’ mathematical thinking. In M.E. Strutchens, R. Huang, L. Losano, & D. Potari (Eds.) Educating prospective secondary mathematics teachers. Monograph Series Edited by Kaiser, G. (pp. 9- 26). Switzerland: Springer.
Sears, R., Brosnan, P., Oloff-Lewis, J., Gainsburg, J., Stone, J., Spencer, C., Riggs, L., Biagetti, S., Cayton, C., Grady, M., Junor-Clarke, P., & Andreason, J. (2017). Using improvement science to transform clinical experiences with co-teaching strategies. Annual perspectives of mathematics education (APME) 2017: Reflective and collaborative processes to improve mathematics teaching. (pp. 265-273). NCTM: Reston, VA.
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Grady, M., Sears, R., Stone, J., & Biagetti, S. (2020). Using co-planning and co-teaching strategies to transform secondary mathematics clinical experiences. In W.G. Martin, B. Lawler, A. Lischka, & W. Smith (Eds.), The Mathematics Teacher Education Partnership: The power of a networked improvement community to transform secondary mathematics teacher preparation (pp. 235 -256). Information Age Publishing, Inc.
Mangram, C., Clarke, P.A. J., Waller, P.P., Ellis, R.L., & Castro-Minnehan, C. (2020). Focus on improving clinical experiences in secondary mathematics teacher preparation. In W.G. Martin, B. Lawler, A. Lischka, & W. Smith (Eds.), The Mathematics Teacher Education Partnership: The power of a networked improvement community to transform secondary mathematics teacher preparation (pp. 281 -292). Information Age Publishing, Inc.
Martin, W. G. & Strutchens, M.E. (2018). Improving secondary mathematics teacher preparation via a networked improvement community: Focus on clinical experiences. In M.E. Strutchens, R. Huang, L. Losano, & D. Potari (Eds.) Educating prospective secondary mathematics teachers. Monograph Series Edited by Kaiser, G. (pp. 27- 46). Switzerland: Springer.
Strutchens, M.E., Erickson, D., Sears, R., & Zelkowski, J. (2020). Clinical experiences for secondary mathematics teacher candidates. In W.G. Martin, B. Lawler, A. Lischka, & W. Smith (Eds.), The Mathematics Teacher Education Partnership: The power of a networked improvement community to transform secondary mathematics teacher preparation (pp. 179 -198). Information Age Publishing, Inc.
Strutchens, M.E., Sears, R., Whitfield, J., Biagetti, S., Brosnan, P., Oloff-Lewis, J., Clarke, P.A., Stone, J.J., Erickson, D.R., Parrish, C., Conway IV, B.M., & Ellis, R.L. (2019). Implementation of paired placement and co-planning/co-teaching field experience models across multiple contexts. In T. Hodges, & A. Baum (Eds.), Handbook of research on field-based teacher education. (pp. 32-63). Hershey, PA: IGI Global. doi:10.4018/978-1-5225-6249-8.ch002.
Strutchens, M.E., Whitfield, J., Erickson, D., & Conway, B. (2020). Fostering collaborative and reflective teacher candidates through paired placement student teaching experiences. In W.G. Martin, B. Lawler, A. Lischka, & W. Smith (Eds.), The Mathematics Teacher Education Partnership: The power of a networked improvement community to transform secondary mathematics teacher preparation (pp. 257 – 280. Information Age Publishing, Inc.
Strutchens, M.E., Sears, R., & Zelkowski, J. (2020). Improving clinical experiencesfor secondary mathematics teacher candidates. In W.G. Martin, B. Lawler, A. Lischka, & W. Smith (Eds.), The Mathematics Teacher Education Partnership: The power of a networked improvement community to transform secondary mathematics teacher preparation (pp. 199 -209). Information Age Publishing, Inc.
Yow, J.A., Waller, P., & Edwards, B. (2019). A national effort to integrate field experiences into secondary mathematics methods courses. In T. Hodges, & A. Baum (Eds.), Handbook of research on field-based teacher education (pp. 395-419). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.
Zelkowski, J., Yow, J., Ellis, M., & Waller, P. (2020). Engaging mentor teachers with teacher candidates during methods courses in clinical settings. In W.G. Martin, B. Lawler, A. Lischka, & W. Smith (Eds.), The Mathematics Teacher Education Partnership: The power of a networked improvement community to transform secondary mathematics teacher preparation (pp. 211 – 234). Information Age Publishing, Inc.
Conway, B., Erikson, D., Parish, C., Strutchens, S., & Whitfield, J. (2017, October). An alternative approach to the traditional internship model. Paper presented at the Georgia Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators, Eagle Rock, GA. Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.georgiasouthern.edu/gamte/.
Sears, R., Castro-Minnehan, C., Riggs, L., Junor Clarke, P., Stone, J., Cayton, C., Oloff-Lewis, J., Grady, M., Brosnan, P., & Strutchens, M. (2020, July 11-20). Preservice teachers and collaborating teachers’ perspectives of using co-planning and co-teaching during clinical experiences in secondary mathematics. [Paper]. 14th international Congress on Mathematical Education (ICME-14). Beijing, China.
Sears, R., Strutchens, M., Lawler, B., Dupree, L., Pinder, C., Castro-Minnehan, C. (2020, July 11-20). Secondary mathematics preservice teachers perspective of means to facilitate equitable learning opportunities. [Paper]. 14th international Congress on Mathematical Education (ICME-14). Beijing, China.
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Zelkowski, J. & Gleason, J. (2016). Using the MCOP2 as a grade bearing assessment of clinical field observations. In Lawler, B.R., Ronau, R.N. & Mohr-Schroeder, M.J. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 5th Annual Mathematics Teacher Education – Partnership Conference. Washington, DC: Association of Public Land-grant Universities.
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