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The Role of Teacher Leadership for Promoting Professional Development Practices
Copyright © 2016. 24 pages.

Abstract

This chapter examines the status of teacher professional development in mathematics and explores the role of teacher leadership to promote innovative professional development strategies that sustain the growth and development of an organization. Survey data was collected from teacher leader participants of one mathematics professional development organization to understand how participants’ growth and development as a teacher leader not only shaped their mathematics instructional practices, but influenced their choices in leadership roles. Further the authors share how the learning environment and pedagogical choices of the project director supported a teacher-driven professional development approach. Recommendations as well as a model for developing a teacher-driven professional development organization are provided for replication.

Introduction

The authors’ of this chapter explore the development and growth of ten mathematics’ teachers and one program director in a University-based mathematics professional development organization that has been established for over ten years in Northern California of the United States of America. Teacher leaders’ profiles, motivations and beliefs about mathematics practices were examined to determine what elements of belonging to a professional mathematics development organization shaped their classroom practices and role as a teacher leader in a professional development organization. Interviews with the director of the organization were conducted to gain insight to the evolution and progression of the organization through social changes, political policies and reform efforts. The organization capitalizes on the idea of “teachers-teaching-teachers” and the human desire of belonging, to grow and sustain teacher membership. The approach to a teacher-centered professional development is teacher-driven and created and rooted in a constructivist approach of learning whereby participants construct knowledge about how children best learn mathematics through active techniques such as applying approaches to their classroom practice and demonstrating practices and student work for feedback and replication. Further, participants share their ideas with colleagues in informal group meetings and demonstrate their best practices at professional development seminars to share with other teachers for investigation.

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