Module 3:
Global Perspectives for Local Action Planning

OVERVIEW

Modules 1 and 2 of this guide provide formats for workshop sessions. Module 3 is different because it is designed to provide guidance and structure for action planning. It is for use by local teams conducting inquiry and action planning regarding mathematics and/or science education in individual schools or school districts based on the TIMSS findings. Working with this module will provide these teams with a framework for continuous improvement of their mathematics and/or science program (a process that often requires many years).

Facilitators may use the Module 3 materials to assist local teams or local teams may use the materials without a facilitator. If local teams use Module 3 without a facilitator, it is essential that team members have a good grasp of the information in Modules 1 and 2 of this guide and of the information provided in the National Research Council (NRC) report, Global Perspectives for Local Action (see “Resources”). This will ensure that the teams have the background needed to make good decisions during the action planning process.

If groups from different schools and districts are working through Module 3 together, it is recommended that facilitators be used to ensure ample representation from each different school or district and to permit meaningful planning focused on individual sites.

Module 3 has two parts: Part A, which will help teams set up a process for their investigations and action planning, and Part B, which will help teams begin to execute the process.



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Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education - Professional Development Guide Module 3: Global Perspectives for Local Action Planning OVERVIEW Modules 1 and 2 of this guide provide formats for workshop sessions. Module 3 is different because it is designed to provide guidance and structure for action planning. It is for use by local teams conducting inquiry and action planning regarding mathematics and/or science education in individual schools or school districts based on the TIMSS findings. Working with this module will provide these teams with a framework for continuous improvement of their mathematics and/or science program (a process that often requires many years). Facilitators may use the Module 3 materials to assist local teams or local teams may use the materials without a facilitator. If local teams use Module 3 without a facilitator, it is essential that team members have a good grasp of the information in Modules 1 and 2 of this guide and of the information provided in the National Research Council (NRC) report, Global Perspectives for Local Action (see “Resources”). This will ensure that the teams have the background needed to make good decisions during the action planning process. If groups from different schools and districts are working through Module 3 together, it is recommended that facilitators be used to ensure ample representation from each different school or district and to permit meaningful planning focused on individual sites. Module 3 has two parts: Part A, which will help teams set up a process for their investigations and action planning, and Part B, which will help teams begin to execute the process.

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Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education - Professional Development Guide Part A: The Inquiry and Action-Planning Process The NRC’s Global Perspectives for Local Action report is, at its core, a call to teachers, educational administrators, higher education staff, and the interested public to use the TIMSS findings to examine their own practices and the results of these practices more closely and consciously. It invites these audiences to inquire into their own curriculum, teaching, and school practices and to think about and plan actions they could take to address problems and improve student learning. Where school and district planning, accreditation, and improvement teams already exist, Module 3 can help these teams employ the TIMSS findings to plan improvements in mathematics and science curricula, instruction, and school culture. Module 3 contains Vignettes of schools that are using TIMSS to improve mathematics and science education; Ideas for how to get started with action planning; An eight-stage inquiry process, along with examples and forms; and Planning templates for achievement, curriculum, instruction, and school support systems that include a summary of relevant TIMSS data, possible questions and data sources for inquiring into practice, and ideas for action planning. Several school districts around the country are using TIMSS as a springboard for reflection and action to improve mathematics and science education. Lessons can be drawn from an urban school in Paterson, New Jersey, schools involved in the First in the World Consortium in Chicago’s northern suburbs, and the Lake Shore School District in Michigan. The vignettes on pgs. 393–397 from these sites offer some images of actions others around the country could take to improve their local mathematics and science education.

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Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education - Professional Development Guide TIMSS-INSPIRED LEARNING IN AN URBAN SCHOOL— MIMICRY OR DEEP CHANGE? “Last year the book did the thinking. This year we did the thinking.” That’s how one eighth-grader recently described the change in how she is learning mathematics at the Paterson School #2 in Paterson, New Jersey. What you might see in her classroom are students grappling with complex mathematical problems, presenting solutions, and discussing their solution methods, while the teacher analyzes errors. That approach builds on what students know, develops their thinking, and drives home the major concept of the lesson. Students are highly engaged and are communicating with each other about mathematics. The level of mathematics is a good half-year ahead of what it used to be. The rigor and structure of eighth-grade mathematics lessons at Paterson School #2 closely resemble typical Japanese lessons. That is not an accident. For the last two years, a group of the school’s teachers, with the full support and active participation of the principal, have undertaken careful study of TIMSS. This has led them to examine closely their own beliefs about teaching mathematics, to conduct action research into classroom practice, and to change dramatically their approach to instruction. Although some observers have mistaken a class of Paterson School #2 eighth-graders for a class of gifted and talented students, the class is, in fact, composed of regular students from a historically poor-performing, urban school where 98% of students qualify for free lunch, 30% are bilingual, and virtually 100% are Latino, African-American, or Bengali. What has made the difference is that the teachers have been transforming the way they teach mathematics with TIMSS as the catalyst. Coinciding with these changes has been a 20% jump in the school’s state mathematics test scores. It all began in the spring of 1997, when Dr. Frank Smith from Columbia University presented a three-day TIMSS workshop to the district, which included showing the TIMSS videotapes of eighth-grade mathematics classrooms in Japan, Germany, and the U.S. One eighth-grade mathematics teacher was hooked immediately. “I read everything about TIMSS and constructivist teaching that I could get my hands on. Then I started to think we could teach more the way the Japanese did, so I tried it. I gave my students interesting problems to solve instead of presenting them with information. The lessons worked out incredibly well,” Bill Jackson explains. Since then, with funding for summer curriculum work arranged by principal Lynn Liptak, eighth-grade mathematics teachers have developed 100 “Japanese-style” lessons. “What’s amazing,” says Jackson, “is that the students took to the lessons immediately. Not that things went perfectly. They didn’t. But we started seeing them do some very sophisticated mathematics.” TIMSS researcher James Hiebert agreed when he recently viewed videos of

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Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education - Professional Development Guide Jackson’s classrooms. “Perhaps the strongest impression is of students seriously engaging in thinking and reasoning mathematically, a surprising rare phenomenon in American classrooms.” Paterson staff admit that their lessons began as mimicry, but they don’t think that is necessarily bad. “Of course, real change is not just a matter of simplistically imitating steps,” comments Lynn Liptak. “But it is important to start somewhere, even if it is simplistic, initially.” What began as mimicry has grown into something much deeper—at the level of changing teachers’ beliefs about teaching and learning mathematics. What’s more, their TIMSS-inspired lessons have given rise to ongoing professional development for the entire staff. For example, eighth-grade teachers meet weekly with the principal to discuss how their lessons are going, to study relevant research, and to “polish the stone.” In addition, these teachers are part of a school-wide “Math Study Group,” where teachers from grades 1–8 and the principal meet regularly to inquire into teaching and learning mathematics and to examine their own practices and beliefs. In addition to studying the TIMSS findings and videos, they share videos of each other’s classes, analyze the assumptions and beliefs that underlie their own practice, and conduct action research. One action research project involved eighth-grade students analyzing TIMSS Japanese and U.S. geometry lessons and developing lessons for lower-grade students using the steps of the Japanese lesson. In another project, a second-grade teacher divided her students in half and taught one group using a traditional approach and the other using the Japanese style. She concluded that both cognitive and linguistic production were more complex during the Japanese-style lessons. TIMSS has also inspired school staff to rethink their mathematics curriculum K–8. “Our curriculum is a mile wide and an inch deep. When we look at how students learn and how our beliefs and practice have changed, we had to look at our curriculum. We are moving to fewer topics in more depth,” Liptak explains. It is no surprise that Paterson School #2 also is looking into Japanese research lessons, a staff development process through which lessons are continually refined and honed through teachers observing each other and sharing insights. They are also tapping many other outside resources, including Columbia University and the Mid-Atlantic Elsenhower Consortium at Research for Better Schools. “You can’t take the TIMSS information or the Japanese teaching style and just implement it without having conversations about what teaching should look like,” warns Bill Jackson. On the other hand, when study of TIMSS is combined with collaborative inquiry into teaching and learning and strong administrative support, the results can be dramatic. Paterson School #2 is living proof. (For more information, contact Lynn Liptak, Principal, School #2, 22 Passaic St., Paterson, NJ 07501; Phone: (973) 881–6002; e-mail: lliptak3@aol.com.)

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Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education - Professional Development Guide FIRST IN THE WORLD CONSORTIUM— BENCHMARKING WITH TIMSS IN A MULTI-DISTRICT PARTNERSHIP The First in the World Consortium is not shy about its ambitious agenda. As its title reflects, the Consortium’s goal is to work together to achieve National Education Goal #5: “U.S. students will be first in the world in mathematics and science achievement.” An outgrowth of a study group of superintendents from Chicago’s North Shore, the Consortium is a collaboration of 19 school districts, representing 32 elementary schools, 17 middle schools, and 6 high schools in suburban Chicago. By leveraging federal resources and engaging Congressional support, the Consortium has mounted a well-resourced effort to administer TIMSS student achievement tests and teacher and student surveys locally to benchmark its schools’ performance against world-class standards. The results are now being used to create a forum for dialogue with business and government leaders, to inform local decision-making, and to foster instructional improvement and professional growth. At the heart of the First in the World initiative are teacher learning networks— learning communities comprising teachers from each of the Consortium’s school districts. Seventy-five teachers are now active in four different learning networks: curriculum standards, models of instruction, assessment, and technology. Learning networks are teacher-directed, with their primary purpose being to promote teachers’ own learning about their focus area. Participants meet monthly to study TIMSS and local data, access relevant research and resources, and take what they are learning back to their own schools and classrooms. Sue Winski, a teacher at the Field Middle School in Northbrook, Illinois, describes her work with the models of instruction network: “We didn’t just look at what was happening in other countries. We got into a full examination of our own practice. For example, in our learning network, we studied the results on homework. The Japanese don’t spend a lot of time on homework, but we do. Then I began to look at the type of homework I was giving. Was it relevant? Challenging? I’ve been keeping a journal about my own homework assignments and how the students react to them.” Teacher learning networks are supported by the instructional support network, a group of curriculum and instructional directors who provide technical assistance to the networks, and by staff from the North Central Regional Education Laboratory (NCREL). In addition to helping to conceptualize and launch the learning network structure, NCREL and its Midwest Consortium for Mathematics and Science Education have become active participants in the planning and evaluation of Consortium activities. Clearly, not every group of school districts has the resources of the First in the World Consortium to mount the comprehensive use of TIMSS. Still, the

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Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education - Professional Development Guide Consortium’s work to date provides some valuable lessons: the importance of a common and coherent vision; the value of collaboration with other school districts, universities, research centers, and other partners; the power of data as a vehicle for inquiry and self-reflection; and the importance of building infrastructures, such as learning networks, that sustain teacher growth. (For more information, contact Paul L.Kimmelman, Superintendent, School District #31, 3131 Techny Rd., Northbrook, IL 60062; Phone (847) 272–6880; e-mail: Pkimmelm@dist31.k12.il.us.)

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Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education - Professional Development Guide TIMSS SPARKS DISTRICT-BASED CURRICULUM REFORM Lake Shore Public Schools is a small school district just outside of Detroit—in the heartland of America’s auto industry. But the district’s approach to education is far from parochial. The district’s schools are making changes in their curriculum with the benefit of an international perspective. In collaboration with research scientists from the University of Michigan’s Center for Human Growth and Development, the district is piloting the “M-Math Program,” an elementary school mathematics curriculum based on East Asian approaches to teaching mathematics. The program features well-defined content in five strands of mathematics (consistent with National Council of Teachers of Mathematics [NCTM] standards) and laid out so that students can learn and master concepts systematically and sequentially. It also emphasizes the use of manipulatives, with an emphasis on student reasoning and discussion. While “M-Math” contains fewer topics than traditional U.S. mathematics curriculums, students are expected to master all the concepts, thereby eliminating repetition from year to year. “We looked closely at TIMSS and tried to figure out what it said and what it didn’t say,” Lake Shore Superintendent John Brackett explains. “Inquiry learning, introducing students to fewer concepts, and working toward mastery just made good sense to us. We decided to implement the ‘M-Math Program’ because it had those features and was an opportunity to do something better for our students, not because Japan or Singapore scored higher than the U.S.” Lake Shore administrators were influenced not just by TIMSS but by analysis of their own students’ mathematics achievement and curriculum. Performance on mathematics problem solving was unsatisfactory, and the curriculum was not aligned with state frameworks. “M-Math” is very much in keeping with the state frameworks and has already produced encouraging achievement results. For example, students participating in the first-grade pilot test are achieving 95% or greater mastery on concepts taught. Lake Shore’s approach to curriculum implementation is to take it slow. The district started with grade one in one building and is gradually phasing in the program in grades 1–5, one grade level at a time. Each cohort of teachers will participate in in-depth professional development, including summer training and follow-up sessions with University of Michigan staff, to enhance their knowledge of mathematics and pedagogy within the context of the curriculum. In addition, teachers will have the opportunity to meet regularly and observe each other’s classrooms. “We’re not just realigning our curriculum,” Brackett summarizes. “We’re supporting a different way of teaching, a different way of thinking.” (For more information, contact John R.Brackett, Superintendent, Lake Shore Public Schools, St. Clair Shores, MI; Phone (810) 285–8480; e-mail: jb4mlak@moa.net.)

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Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education - Professional Development Guide GETTING STARTED WITH ACTION PLANNING: THE ACTION-PLANNING TEAM As illustrated in the vignettes, local sites can take different actions to use TIMSS to improve mathematics and/or science education. Module 3 provides a process for local school teams to use to plan the actions that are best for them. There are several things to consider in using Module 3. First, the team or group that will engage in the action planning process needs to be identified. Asking questions about school practices should not be an add-on to existing duties and responsibilities, however. Rather, it should be viewed as helping to further the work and planning of existing efforts. Think about what teams or groups your school or district has in place to make decisions or recommendations about curriculum, professional development, or changes in school programs. Subject area curriculum groups, accreditation teams, or school-based management groups are a good place to start. These types of teams are often charged with reviewing and selecting new curriculum or textbooks, planning professional development programs for teachers, or making decisions about scheduling and teacher time that affect school culture. People and teams with these responsibilities would likely enhance their effectiveness by investigating the questions that TIMSS raises. THE INQUIRY PROCESS The following eight-stage Inquiry Process will guide you as you use TIMSS to inquire into the practices in your setting. Use it to guide your action-planning group through each of the stages. The cycle includes In the section that follows, each of these stages in the Inquiry Process is described, and examples are given. Part B provides templates of forms that can used during each stage’s activities.

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Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education - Professional Development Guide Stage 1—Learn about TIMSS The first step in using TIMSS as a catalyst for reflection and improvement of the teaching and learning of mathematics and science is learning about the TIMSS findings. At this stage, it is important to go beyond TIMSS “sound bites” to begin to understand the study in all of its richness and complexity. TIMSS does not provide us with simple answers to complex problems but, rather, offers us the benefit of an international perspective from which to view our own practice. Before your action teams can think about TIMSS implications for their own work, they need to know what TIMSS says and what it doesn’t say. Everyone who is involved in the planning team should learn the materials found in Modules 1 and 2A, 2B, and 2C of this guide and read the NRC report referred to in the introduction of this module. Learning about TIMSS can take a variety of forms. You can Organize several sessions for the planning team to work through the information in Modules 1 and 2A, 2B, and 2C to give team members the background they need to use the TIMSS findings to study their own practices; Form a TIMSS study group to delve more deeply into specific aspects of TIMSS, such as the curriculum or instruction findings. Read and discuss Global Perspectives for Local Action and other reports on TIMSS referenced in the “Resources” section of this guide; and View and discuss the TIMSS Videotape Study, which focuses on different questions about instruction and content (refer to the Moderator’s Guide to Eighth-Grade Mathematics Lessons: United States, Japan, and Germany [U.S. DoEd., 1997d] listed in the “Resources” section of this guide). Consider what other key audiences you need to educate about TIMSS to build support for your improvement efforts, including parents, school board members, and other members of the school community. Offer a Module 1 session to help these key audiences learn more about TIMSS and support your efforts.

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Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education - Professional Development Guide Stage 2—Consider the Implications of TIMSS for Your Own School or District As your action-planning team learns more about TIMSS, keep bringing the conversation back to your own school or district. At this stage, your planning team can engage in open-ended exploration about what the TIMSS findings mean for you, reflecting on questions such as How do TIMSS achievement findings compare with our students’ achievement? Do we share some of the same strengths and weaknesses? What are the leverage points for improving student learning in mathematics and science in our school or district? Do any of the curriculum findings raise questions about our curriculum? Do the video study findings make us aware of teaching practices we may not have noticed? How can we strengthen the systems of support in our setting? The questions embedded in the NRC report offer useful prompts for reflection and dialogue. In addition, Modules 1 and 2 provide opportunities for generating further thinking and discussion about the implications of TIMSS for the work of your team. Once your action team has explored TIMSS findings and implications for its work, the team may be eager to take action. But the last thing the authors of the NRC report want is for schools or districts to leap to action based on TIMSS without thoughtful analysis and planning. Instead, action teams are urged to make a commitment to more rigorous inquiry into their own practices, using data to target local problems and to guide local action planning.

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Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education - Professional Development Guide Stage 3—Find a Focus for Inquiry Once the team has made a commitment to inquire into local mathematics and science practice, the next step is to find a focus. The NRC report emphasizes how interconnected curriculum, instruction, and school support systems are and that they alone are not the only influences on student achievement. Yet, it is impossible to move full throttle ahead in all of these areas at the same time. While keeping in mind the many other factors at play, the team will need to make a decision about where to start. So, where to begin the inquiry? To guide your team’s decision, consider the following: What student learning data do you already have? What do they tell you about priority needs and problem areas? What improvement efforts in curriculum, instruction, or school support systems are already underway that you can build on? What are areas of high concern among staff, students, parents? What focus is most likely to mobilize support for change? What do you already know about strengths and weaknesses in curriculum, instruction, and school support structures that suggest priorities? What are you most curious about? Excited about? What is manageable right now given your available resources? Example Focus We want to investigate the coherence and focus of our mathematics curriculum.

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Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education - Professional Development Guide Stage 8—Monitor Results See the Plan for Monitoring form on pg. 439.

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Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education - Professional Development Guide TEMPLATE SET 4: INQUIRING INTO SCHOOL SUPPORT SYSTEMS Stage 1—Learn about TIMSS Summary of the TIMSS Findings about School Support Systems • Japanese teachers have more opportunity to discuss teaching with other teachers than U.S. teachers do. • Time for U.S. teachers to collaborate decreases from 4th to 8th grade. • Japanese students watch as much TV as U.S. students do. • U.S. student attitudes toward mathematics and science decline from 4th to 8th grade. • Teachers in the U.S. engage in more short-term, expert-led workshops. Stage 2—Consider Implications for Your Own School or District What do these findings mean for us? How can we improve professional development in our school or district to support learning? What are the opportunities for teacher collaboration? What are parents’ and students’ attitudes toward mathematics and science? Stage 3—Find a Focus for Inquiry

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Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education - Professional Development Guide Stage 4—Collect Data First, consider what questions you want to ask and what data sources you want to use. See the possible questions and data sources below. Then develop a plan. See the Data Collection Plan form on pg. 434. School Support Systems Possible Questions Data Sources How does the daily schedule encourage or discourage collaboration among teachers? What opportunities are provided during the workday for teachers to engage in professional development and collaboration? Analyze schedule; interview teachers What are the trade-offs to providing teachers more collaborative planning time— for example, would the average class size grow or would teachers need to do more of their planning at school? Analyze projected enrollments and current class size; interview or survey teachers How are new teachers inducted? Who and what is involved, and to what end? What supports are in place for new teachers? Who provides it and what takes place? Review district policies and interview principals and new teachers and mentors (if relevant) To what extent is professional development relevant, focused, and coherent? What are the focal areas, methods and content, and how are they aligned with learning goals? How is teacher development organized across the career of a teacher? What kinds of opportunities exist for what kinds of learning? What features support this? Review professional development plan; interview staff development or curriculum coordinators; and map professional development programs the district has had for the past year

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Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education - Professional Development Guide To what extent do teachers engage in collaborative learning through teacher-led study groups, examination of student work or videotaped classroom lessons? How could we increase the incidence of such collaboration? Teacher interviews What factor promotes community and collegiality among teachers in our school(s)? What inhibits it? What supports autonomy in teachers, and what inhibits it? Interviews or surveys How does the physical environment and schedule of our school(s) contribute to the teaching culture? What changes would teachers and other staff like to see in the environment or schedule to increase collegiality? Interviews or surveys What do the students in our school(s) believe about their achievement and interest in mathematics and science? Student and parent survey Are actions consistent with their beliefs? Student, parent, and teacher survey How do beliefs compare with performance? Survey and achievement data Our questions: _______________________ _______________________ _______________________ _______________________ _______________________ _______________________ _______________________  

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Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education - Professional Development Guide

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Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education - Professional Development Guide Stage 5—Analyze Data Data Analysis: School Support Systems What important points seem to emerge? What patterns or trends are we noticing? What seems surprising? What else do we need to know? What conclusions can we draw? What additional evidence do we need to validate our conclusions? How do these results compare with our school’s or district’s standards or goals? With the TIMSS results? How can these data inform our decision-making?

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Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education - Professional Development Guide Stage 6—Identify a Problem Use a Problem Statement form, like the one below. Problem Statement: School Support Systems Describe the problem: Who is affected? What do you think is causing the problem? What evidence do you have? What are your goals for improvement?

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Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education - Professional Development Guide Stage 7—Plan for Action See the Actions to Consider, below, and the Plan for Action form on pg. 438. Actions to Consider for Improving School Support Systems • Examine the schedule to find more time for teachers. Consider combining classes and having teachers pair for duties (e.g., lunch and recess together) to create more time for them to share ideas. • Create a common workspace for teachers with comfortable chairs and desks as well as resources to encourage collaboration and for use in planning lessons and meeting informally. • Establish a culture for sharing expertise, e.g., use faculty meeting and professional development time for teachers to present cases of teaching or lessons and gain input from colleagues. • Be explicit about the decisions teachers are expected to make and the areas in which they should be autonomous. • Assign mentors for beginning teachers and release mentor and beginning teachers from some duties to provide time for mentoring. • Have teachers create individual professional development plans that are tied to learning goals, and recognize milestones when they are reached. • Keep students interested in mathematics and science by relating them to students’ real lives. • Encourage all students to take mathematics and science courses every year. • Engage students in examining contradictions between what they believe (e.g., hard work is needed to do well in mathematics and science) versus what they do (e.g., reject in-depth projects or schoolwork that requires substantial effort). Stage 8—Monitor Results See the Plan for Monitoring on pg. 439.

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