Skip to main content

Reification of instructional materials as part of the process of developing problem‐based practices in mathematics education

Buy Article:

$63.00 + tax (Refund Policy)

This teacher development study closely examined a teacher's practice for the purpose of understanding how she selected and implemented instructional materials, and correspondingly how these processes changed as she developed her problem‐based practice throughout a school year. Data sources included over 20 hours of planning and analysis meetings with the teacher and 27 video‐taped lessons with discussions before and after each lesson. Through qualitative analysis we examined the data for: students' cognitive demand for curricular materials the teacher selected and implemented; teacher's beliefs and practices for students' engagement in mathematical thinking; and teacher's and students' communication about mathematics during instruction. We found that the teacher shifted her views and use of instructional materials as she changed her practice towards more problem‐based approaches. The teacher moved from closely following her traditional, district‐adopted textbook to selecting problem‐based tasks from outside resources to build a curriculum. Simultaneously, she changed her practice to focus more on students' engagement in mathematical thinking and their communication about mathematics as part of learning. During this shift in practice, the teacher began to reify instructional materials, viewing them as instruments of her practice to meet students' needs. The process of shifting her views was gradual over the school year and involved substantial analysis and reflection on practice from the teacher. Implications include that teachers and teacher educators may need to devote more attention and support for teachers to use instructional materials to support instruction, rather than materials to prescribe instruction. This use of instructional materials may be an important part of transforming practice overall.

Keywords: Curricular materials; Instructional materials; Mathematics education; Middle school mathematics teaching; Professional development

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Washington State University Tri‐Cities, USA

Publication date: August 1, 2006

More about this publication?
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content