How Teachers Learn: Orchestrating Disciplinary Discourse in Science, Literature, and Mathematics Classrooms

Project: Research project

Project Details


The sub-contract proposal from Carol D. Lee at Northwestern University proposes a line of research that complements the broader goals of the proposal to the McDonnell Foundation. We will draw from two bodies data: records of practice from the longitudinal study as part of Project READI that includes videos, samples of student work, outcome data on assessments of literary reasoning, as well as results of surveys reflected a broader conception of what teachers need to know about students in planning for both effective discussion and instruction (e.g. self-perceptions of ability as fixed or malleable, coping, racial identity, and perceptions of instruction). This data set offers unique opportunities to explore (a) challenges and opportunities of facilitating discussion around literary reasoning (b) understanding, designing for and scaffolding the linguistic repertoires of adolescent speakers of African-American English and (c) the knowledge base of experienced teachers in terms of their decisions around instructional design and planning, planning for and coordinating productive discussions around literary problem solving, and assessing student needs. Years 1 - 2 From the longitudinal project from Project READI, we have selected three teachers as case studies of early career teachers who over a period of two to four years experienced professional development in the context of Project READI and informed by the Cultural Modeling Framework. These contexts of professional development are important because they document the challenges and uptake of strategic focus on generative problems of teaching literary reasoning (e.g. attention to epistemology, key concepts, problems of text complexity, heuristics and strategies). For each of the case study teachers, we have video records from the beginning of the year and again in the latter part of the school year. Each set of video records focuses on a particular instructional unit, allowing us to examine the features of discussion in relation to specific disciplinary learning goals. The case study teachers reflect teaching in early and late high school years, thus allowing us to investigate differences in addressing early versus late adolescent learners. In addition, each set is unique in that we remain in contact with the teachers in question in terms of analyzing post-hoc their analyses and reflections on their coordination of discussion. In addition, we will review a selected sub-set of videos with the coach who worked directly with each of these case study teachers over periods ranging from2 to 4 years, who has had numerous analytic discussions with them around their instructional decisions including coordinating of discussions and has written records around her observations and meetings with these case study teachers. This triad framing for examining videos of practice – working with adolescents who are speakers of African-American English, a majority of whom are living in poverty, and many of whom are struggling readers – in the domain of literature to include analyses by expert researchers in the field, by the teachers themselves, and by the practitioner coach who worked with them offer unique opportunities for exploring both opportunities and challenges entailed in learning to engage in new instructional practices around the role of discussion in learning to engage in literary reasoning. In year 1, we will conduct dual analyses of these video records. One analysis will be conducted by Dr. Carol D. Lee and Dr. Yolanda J. Majors. For the Project READI videos, we will conte
Effective start/end date1/1/1812/31/23


  • University of Illinois at Chicago (16738RM/089461-00000//220020517)
  • James S. McDonnell Foundation (16738RM/089461-00000//220020517)


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