This year, seven comprehensive middle schools are using the Problem-Solving Cycle in developing their professional learning communities, building on the work that Teacher Leaders from Francisco Middle School and Presidio Middle School did last year. Teacher Leaders from these seven schools are being supported by a team from Stanford University and the SFUSD Math Department to implement the Problem-Solving Cycle. This model supports teams of math teachers to develop a professional learning community and to think about content and instruction using video and student work. Dr. Hilda Borko and her team have described the Problem-Solving Cycle:
The Problem-Solving Cycle (PSC) model of mathematics professional development encourages teachers to become part of a collaborative and supportive learning community. As they participate in the PSC, teachers think deeply about both mathematics content and instruction, and they explore their instructional practices with their colleagues through the use of video and other classroom artifacts. One iteration of the PSC consists of three interconnected professional development workshops, all organized around a rich mathematical task. During Workshop 1, teachers collaboratively solve the mathematical task and develop plans for teaching it to their own students. Shortly after the workshop, the teachers implement the problem with their own students and their lessons are videotaped. In Workshop 2 teachers explore the role they played in implementing the problem. In Workshop 3 teachers critically examine students’ mathematical reasoning.
The Problem-Solving Cycle model provides a structure for mathematics teachers to work together and share a common mathematical and pedagogical experience. Our previous research suggests that it is a promising model for enhancing teachers’ knowledge and supporting changes in classroom practice.
The following schools are participating in the Problem-Solving Cycle PD structure during the 2016-2017 school year:
Read about this project here.
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