Module 2B: What Does TIMSS Say about Instructional Practices?

GOALS

  • To explore differences in the structure of lessons, goals, and beliefs about teaching mathematics in the U.S, Germany, and Japan;

  • To examine the “scripts” that shape the characteristics of a typical lesson in each of these countries;

  • To identify issues for further reflection and dialogue about teaching practices in participants’ own schools, districts, and higher education institutions; and

  • To assess how familiar U.S. teachers are with the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Standards.

ACTIVITIES

2B.1 Overview of Goals and Agenda (5 minutes)

2B.2 Brief Overview of the Videotape Case Study (5 minutes)

2B.3 Set Up for Video Viewing (10 minutes)

2B.4 Video Viewing and Discussion: Japan and the U.S. (60 minutes)8

2B.5 Key Findings: Simple Jigsaw (30 minutes) or Brief Lecture with Discussion (20 minutes)

2B.6 Issues for Further Reflection and Dialogue (40 minutes)

Time: 2.5 hours

8  

Adapted from Teachers Change: Improving K–12 Mathematics, by Cathy Cook and M.Christensen. Columbus, OH: Elsenhower National Clearinghouse, 1999.



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Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education - Professional Development Guide Module 2B: What Does TIMSS Say about Instructional Practices? GOALS To explore differences in the structure of lessons, goals, and beliefs about teaching mathematics in the U.S, Germany, and Japan; To examine the “scripts” that shape the characteristics of a typical lesson in each of these countries; To identify issues for further reflection and dialogue about teaching practices in participants’ own schools, districts, and higher education institutions; and To assess how familiar U.S. teachers are with the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Standards. ACTIVITIES 2B.1 Overview of Goals and Agenda (5 minutes) 2B.2 Brief Overview of the Videotape Case Study (5 minutes) 2B.3 Set Up for Video Viewing (10 minutes) 2B.4 Video Viewing and Discussion: Japan and the U.S. (60 minutes)8 2B.5 Key Findings: Simple Jigsaw (30 minutes) or Brief Lecture with Discussion (20 minutes) 2B.6 Issues for Further Reflection and Dialogue (40 minutes) Time: 2.5 hours 8   Adapted from Teachers Change: Improving K–12 Mathematics, by Cathy Cook and M.Christensen. Columbus, OH: Elsenhower National Clearinghouse, 1999.

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Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education - Professional Development Guide SET-UP AND MATERIALS Room Arrangement and Equipment Tables for groups of four Overhead projector and screen Video projection unit with large screen or monitor Newsprint and markers Post-It notes (large) in two colors Paper for note-taking and pens/pencils, plus newsprint or transparencies and markers for recorders/reporters Order in Advance Videos of U.S. and Japanese 8th grade geometry lessons included in “Eighth-Grade Mathematics Lessons: United States, Japan, and Germany” (from the TIMSS “toolkit”). (Check with your school district’s science or math coordinator or local university’s school of education to borrow their Resource Kit or kit or contact the Superintendent of Documents, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250–7954; Phone: (202) 512–1800; FAX: (202) 512–2250; URL: http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/sale/prf/prf.html; e-mail: orders@gpo.gov. When ordering, ask for Attaining Excellence: A TIMSS Resource Kit, GPO # 065–000–01013–5.) Make in Advance Overhead transparencies from masters for Module 2B in this guide (Note that the masters are labeled 2B–1 through 2B–31.)9 Copies of the handouts for this module (see pgs. 309–319) (one set for each participant) (Also copy the handout on the TIMSS Populations from Module 1 on pg. 144, if needed.) Copies of Slides 2B–6, “Prediction and Observation,” and 2B–9, “Comparing Instruction in Three Countries” (one set for each participant) Copies of four sections of Chapter 4 of the Global Perspectives for Local Action report (one set of the four sections for each group of four participants) (The sections are entitled “Lesson Structure,” “Objectives of Lessons,” “Beliefs about Mathematics Teaching,” and “Teaching Scripts.”) (The report is available from the National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Ave., NW, Lockbox 285, Washington, B.C. 20055; Phone: (800) 624–6242 [toll free] or (202) 334–3131 [in the Washington Metropolitan area].) Table tents for each table 9   The source of data cited on masters is noted on the bottom of each master by title. For complete citations, see the “Resources” section of this guide.

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Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education - Professional Development Guide FACILITATOR NOTES 2B.1 Overview of Goals and Agenda (5 minutes) Welcome participants and provide them with copies of the handouts for this module. Use Slides 2B–1, 2B–2, and 2B–3 to provide an overview of the goals and agenda. 2B.2 Brief Overview of the Videotape Case Study (5 minutes) Let participants know that Chapter 4 of the NRC report draws on both the videotape study of eighth-grade mathematics in the U.S., Germany, and Japan and on the background questionnaires given to administrators, teachers, and students. The next activity will focus on the videotape study and give participants the opportunity to observe classrooms in the U.S. and Japan just as the researchers did. (Because of the time that would be required, this module does not include viewing and discussing the German classrooms. You can add this if you have an additional 30 minutes. Viewing video from the three countries will broaden participants’ perspectives and avoid a narrow comparison between just the U.S. and Japan.) Use Slides 2B–4 and 2B–5 briefly to provide an overview of the videotape study. If participants have questions about the methodology or findings of the study, refer them to “Research Methods and Findings of the TIMSS Videotape Classroom Study” in the Moderator’s Guide to Eighth-Grade Mathematics Lessons: United States, Japan, and Germany, which is part of Attaining Excellence: A TIMSS Resource Kit (U.S. Department of Education, 1997d). 2B.3 Set Up for Video Viewing (10 minutes) Ask participants to predict what they think they will see in the video using the “Prediction and Observation” matrix, copies of which were made and handed out (Slide 2B–6). The predictions will then provide a focus for participants’ video viewing. Suggest to participants that while they view the lesson, they focus on their observations, rather than on judgments or evaluations. They also should consider issues or questions that the video segments raise for them. Clarify the difference between observations (just the facts!) and issues, which are questions about teaching and learning. For example, an issue raised by the

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Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education - Professional Development Guide video for a teacher might be, “How can we deal more effectively with students’ confusion and frustration?” An issue for an administrator might be, “How can the administration support teachers in using more complex problem solving in the classroom?” An issue for someone in higher education might be, “How can we better align our teacher preparation and mathematics programs with the most effective instructional practices in mathematics?” 2B.4 Video Viewing and Discussion: Japan and the U.S. (60 minutes) Show the video of the U.S. eighth-grade geometry lesson first. Then show the Japanese video. (Field tests have found that participants tend to be less defensive when they view the videos in this order.) After viewing each video, ask participants individually to compare their observations to their predictions and to record their observations on the matrix. Then have them share their observations with a partner. Encourage them to talk about what surprised them as well as what validated their assumptions. Next, have participants work in groups of four to discuss the issues or questions raised by the videos. Using one color of Post-It notes, have participants write each issue in the form of an open-ended question, one per Post-It. Discuss participants’ observations in the whole group, recording them on newsprint. Then ask participants to share some of their issues. Let participants know that their issues will continue to be collected as more of the findings from the video study and the report are examined. Also let participants know that they will form issue discussion groups later. 2B.5 Key Findings: Simple Jigsaw (30 minutes) Brief Lecture with Discussion (20 minutes) Simple Jigsaw: Tell participants that now they are going to find out what the researchers learned from analyzing the videos and what the authors of the report highlighted. In groups of four, participants will read about four topics from Chapter 4 of the NRC report—“Lesson Structure,” ”Objectives of Lessons,” “Beliefs about Mathematics Teaching,” and “Teaching Scripts.” Use Slide 2B–7 as an advanced organizer for the material they will be covering. Then go over the directions for the simple jigsaw on Slide 2B–8, which participants will follow while continuing to work in groups of four. (If the numbers are not even, make some groups of three. When it is time for a team

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Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education - Professional Development Guide of three to learn about the fourth topic, have them join with a group of four.) The copies of the slide provided as a worksheet (Slide 2B–9) will help participants organize the information that they are learning from the jigsaw. After the jigsaw, ask participants in their groups of four to generate any additional issues or questions that this material raised. Have them add these questions to their collection of issue Post-Its, one item per Post-It. Brief lecture with discussion: This is a less time-consuming but also less engaging alternative to the jigsaw. Use Slides 2B–10 through 2B–18 to provide an overview of the major findings about structure. Stop and have participants discuss in table groups how these findings compare with their observations. Then ask them to generate additional questions or issues about these findings. Have them add these to their collection of Post-Its, one question or issue per Post-It (Slide 2B–19). Then go to Slides 2B–20 through 2B–29 to highlight the findings regarding influences on instructional practices and scripts (typical characteristics, including sequence, of typical lessons). Ask participants in their table groups to reflect on these findings and add any new issues or questions to their Post-Its. 2B.6 Issues for Further Reflection and Dialogue (40 minutes) In their groups of four, ask participants to cluster, categorize, and name the issues on their Post-Its (Slide 2B–30). Have them write the names of categories on the second color of Post-Its provided. As they do this, circulate around the room, observing the groups and identifying common themes. Put the themes that lend themselves best to discussion on cardboard table tents. Create one theme for every four to eight participants. Ask participants to move to the table with the theme that they are most interested in discussing. Ask them to assign a reporter and a recorder. Allow about 20 minutes for discussion. Summarize with brief reporting out by each group. If the group (or a subset of the group) intends to continue with Module 3, they should be encouraged to keep a record of their reflections for later use. Wrap up by asking participants individually to reflect on an insight they gained or an action they intend to take (see Slide 2B–31). Share a few of each of these—insights and actions—with the whole group. Point out that although this module concluded with a consideration of action that can be taken, Module 3 contains a process for developing an action plan that should be completed before improvement efforts can begin. Are members of the group interested in moving to Module 3 after Module 2C?

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