Module 2C: What Does TIMSS Say about School Support Systems?

GOALS

  • To identify the influences of school support systems on learning;

  • To learn about the TIMSS findings on school support systems around the world;

  • To identify alternatives to current U.S. teacher development practices; and

  • To identify issues for further reflection, dialogue, and possible action that could be taken to improve the mathematics and science curricula in participants’ own schools, districts, and higher education institutions.

ACTIVITIES

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

2C.2 What Do We Mean by School Support Systems? Brief Overview Lecture (20 minutes)

2C.3 Collegiality and Professional Development of Teachers (20 minutes)

2C.4 “The Secret of Trapezes” (30 minutes)

2C.5 Issues for Further Reflection and Dialogue (30 minutes)

Time: 1.75 hours

SET UP AND MATERIALS

Room Arrangement and Equipment
  • Tables for groups of four

  • Overhead projector and screen

  • Video projection unit with a large monitor

  • Newsprint and markers



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Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education - Professional Development Guide Module 2C: What Does TIMSS Say about School Support Systems? GOALS To identify the influences of school support systems on learning; To learn about the TIMSS findings on school support systems around the world; To identify alternatives to current U.S. teacher development practices; and To identify issues for further reflection, dialogue, and possible action that could be taken to improve the mathematics and science curricula in participants’ own schools, districts, and higher education institutions. ACTIVITIES 2C.1 Overview of Goals and Agenda (5 minutes) 2C.2 What Do We Mean by School Support Systems? Brief Overview Lecture (20 minutes) 2C.3 Collegiality and Professional Development of Teachers (20 minutes) 2C.4 “The Secret of Trapezes” (30 minutes) 2C.5 Issues for Further Reflection and Dialogue (30 minutes) Time: 1.75 hours SET UP AND MATERIALS Room Arrangement and Equipment Tables for groups of four Overhead projector and screen Video projection unit with a large monitor Newsprint and markers

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Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education - Professional Development Guide Paper for note-taking and pens/pencils, plus newsprint or transparencies and markers for recorders/reporters Post signs that you have made (see “Make in Advance”) around the room. Order in Advance Videotape entitled “The Secret of Trapezes” (subtitled “Science Research Lessons on Pendulums”) (This video is available from Catherine Lewis, Mills College, 5000 McArthur Blvd., Oakland, CA 94613; Phone: (510) 430–3129; FAX: (510) 430–3233; e-mail: c_lewis@post.harvard.edu.) Copies of the Global Perspectives for Local Action report for each participant (This report is available from the National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Ave., NW, Lockbox 285, Washington, D.C. 20055; Phone: (800) 642–6242 [toll free] or (202) 334–3131 [in the Washington Metropolitan area].) Make in Advance Overhead transparencies made from masters for Module 2C in this guide (Note that the presentation slides or masters are labeled Slides 2C-1 through 2C–26.)10 Copy of handouts for this module (see pgs. 381–389) (one set for each participant) Five large signs labeled “Create Awareness,” “Build Knowledge,” “Translate into Practice,” “Practice Teaching,” and “Reflect on Practice” (Use Slides 2C–13 through 2C–17.) FACILITATOR NOTES 2C.1 Overview of Goals and Agenda (5 minutes) Welcome participants and provide them with copies of all of the handouts for this module. Then use Slides 2C–1, 2C–2, and 2C–3 to review the session’s purposes and agenda. (Have people introduce themselves at their tables and share an expectation they have for the meeting. Ask for a report of a few of the expectations.) 10   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 2C.2 What Do We Mean by School Support Systems? Brief Overview Lecture (20 minutes) Let participants know that the session is designed around the National Research Council (NRC) report that looks at some of the findings of the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). This portion of the session will focus on Chapter 5 of the report—“What Does TIMSS Say about School Support Systems?” Begin by asking participants to jot down what they think of when they hear the term “school support systems.” What are some of the organizational systems that influence teaching and learning? Ask participants to report their ideas to the whole group. List their ideas on newsprint or on a blank transparency, grouping similar ideas. After the report out, look at the list and name the categories. Summarize by showing Slides 2C–4 and 2C–5. Tell participants that many of the items on the list contribute to creating an environment or culture for learning. Using Slides 2C–6, 2C–7, 2C–8, and 2C– 9, review what TIMSS found regarding teacher time in the U.S. as compared to other countries. In groups of four, have participants discuss the reflection questions and brainstorm possible actions around teacher time, using Slide 2C–10. Next, note that this session will focus on one major element of school support systems—the ways teachers learn to improve their teaching through professional development. While showing Slide 2C–11, say what is meant when we use the term teacher learning. Remind participants that professional development for teachers has different purposes. Review these using Slide 2C–12. 2C.3 Collegiality and Professional Development of Teachers (20 minutes) Point to the signs on the wall (which you created from Slides 2C–13 through 17) labeled “Create Awareness,” “Build Knowledge,” “Translate Knowledge into Practice,” “Practice Teaching,” and “Reflect on Practice.” Ask participants to stand under the sign that best describes the purpose of most of the professional development experiences they have had in their school or higher education setting. After everyone has moved to a place, have participants look around and see where everyone is. Ask, “Where are most of you?” (Most likely, most will be positioned near “Create Awareness” and “Build Knowledge.”) Ask participants, “What are the implications of focusing professional development of teachers (or college faculty) in this area?”

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Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education - Professional Development Guide Then ask participants to reflect on their own needs for professional development: Do they need more knowledge building, reflecting, and so on? Ask them to move to the sign that best describes the kind of professional development they would like to have more of in their lives. Point out the moves that everyone has made and the disconnection between what most people get versus what they say they need. Ask for a show of hands by participants who didn’t move. Ask them what they think contributes to the alignment (or lack of alignment) between the professional development experiences they have had and what they need. Have everyone return to their seats and use Slides 2C–18, 19, and 20 to review the TIMSS findings on professional development and begin thinking about different professional learning strategies. Refer to the table at the end of the Module 2C handout packet entitled “Strategies for Professional Learning” (pgs. 388–389) and point out how the different professional development strategies there are focused on different purposes, such as practicing teaching and reflection. U.S. teachers have fewer of these types of professional development than types focused on creating awareness and building new knowledge. 2C.4 “The Secret of Trapezes” (30 minutes) Next, let participants know that they are going to look at one example that shows how Japanese teachers reflect deeply on and refine their teaching. The recommended video, “The Secret of Trapezes,” is not from TIMSS but does provide a glimpse of collegial learning in Japan. Tell participants they will see a Japanese science lesson. In it, the teacher’s colleagues are visiting to observe the class and gather data on the teacher’s practice. Ask participants to view the tape as if they were one of the teachers visiting the classroom. Ask them to focus their viewing on the lesson—how it is structured, what seems to work, and what needs improvement. After the viewing, ask for general reactions to the professional development approach participants saw in the video. What do they think are the purposes of this type of professional learning? Write up the reactions using Slide 2C– 21. Then ask what they saw and what the teacher who is teaching and the teachers who are observing could be learning from their collaboration. Next, ask participants to reflect on their own school or setting. How do they get feedback on their lessons? How might they use this practice to increase collegiality and improve their own teaching? Summarize while using Slides 2C–22 and 2C–23.

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Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education - Professional Development Guide 2C.5 Issues for Further Reflection and Dialogue (30 minutes) In groups of four, ask participants to reflect on the questions on Slide 2C–24 and to generate ideas for improving teacher learning. Have the groups report out and, if needed, show Slide 2C–25 to expand the ideas they had for action. Wrap up: Ask participants to write about an insight that they gained and an action that they intend to take (Slide 2C–26) drawing upon the ideas generated in this session. Ask for participants to share a few insights and ideas 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 the improvement efforts can begin. Are there members of the group who are interested in moving to Module 3?

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