The Role of Complex Instruction in the Pursuit of Learning Goals: It’s A Marathon, Not a Sprint
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe Role of Complex Instruction in the Pursuit of Learning Goals: It's a Marathon, Not a Sprint By Maggie Hackett Despite a long-standing call in mathematics education for more student-centered teaching practices, instruction in the K-12 classroom is difficult to shift. Research on professional development experiences provide some insight into why teaching practices persist, but they do not tell the entire story. It is well documented that teachers' beliefs, learning goals, and instructional contexts also factor into the decisions teachers make about their practices. The research outlined in this study focused on making sense of these factors, as teachers contemplated changes to their instructional practice to incorporate Complex Instruction. Using a case study approach, I observed three elementary teachers during their mathematics lessons over the course of a semester. I interviewed them prior to and after the instruction to document what connections they made between their beliefs and goals to their anticipated and enacted practices. Analyzing the data through the lens of practicality theory, teachers' considerations were categorized according to the instrumentality, congruence, and cost of enacting Complex Instruction. Findings showed that teachers were able to bridge their current practices towards an idealized version of Complex Instruction, in an effort to better meet their goals. An alignment along the congruence dimension of practicality theory seemed to most impact the teachers' ability and willingness to adopt the practices. Lastly, the process of making changes to instructional practice takes an incredible amount of time. The findings of this study can inform those who support teachers as they work to align beliefs, goals, and practices.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Teaching & Teacher Education