Teacher learning in professional communities: The case of technology-enriched pedagogy in secondary mathematics education

Year: 2007

Author: Goos, Merrilyn, Bennison, Anne

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper draws on data from a study that is developing theoretical and practical models of innovation in integrating technologies such as computers, graphics calculators, and the internet into the teaching of secondary school mathematics. In the first phase of the study we are working with four teachers who are effective users of educational technologies to investigate how and under what conditions they learn to embed technology into their practice. From a sociocultural perspective, learning to teach is a form of enculturation into a professional community characterised by particular values, beliefs and practices. Community of practice models have proven fruitful for understanding how teachers' identities emerge and develop as participation in the practices of a community increases. This paper discusses key features of the communities of practice within which the participating secondary mathematics teachers work. We report on interviews with the teachers in which we asked them to identify people who have significantly influenced how they teach mathematics. A second round of interviews with people identified via this process investigated how they attempt to influence how mathematics is taught. The findings may contribute to a better understanding of ways in which professional communities may support or inhibit innovative practices.