Making a difference: Examining the impact of focusing on high-leverage practices in teacher preperation
Hala Ghousseini

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



University of Wisconsin-Madison

Primary Discipline

Human Development
University-based teacher training faces a challenge in making an impact on beginning teachers’ practice. The well-known disconnect between training and practice has been tied to a number of factors, which include the mismatch between the university and school settings and an over-emphasis on shaping the beliefs of teachers in training rather than their actions. In light of these damaging disconnects, many in teacher education concur with the need to situate professional learning in the sorts of ambitious practice that beginning teachers are called upon to do, and to engage in a sustained research effort to determine the characteristics of professional learning that make the most difference in preparing skilled teachers. I aim in this study to contribute to the work on these two problems by studying the impact of a professional learning model that redesigned the physical, material, and social organization of the learning environment in which pre-service teachers learn to teach mathematics in order to increase the likelihood of carry over from their training to practice. The model builds on the work of Grossman et al. (2009) in their studies of preparation of other professions by “decomposing” the work of mathematics teaching into high-leverage practices. This study will investigate the teaching practice of graduates of this model during their initial years of teaching and the factors that shape their use of the high-leverage practices they learned. Using comparative case studies of the practice of twelve graduates of this model, I examine how core practices of ambitious teaching get recontextualized from their teacher training and the factors that shape this process. My interpretation of recontextualizing in this study takes an Activity Theory framework as its base, where I consider a teacher’s activity as fulfilled through goal-oriented actions that are mediated by certain tools, whose meanings are developed and constantly negotiated in collaboration with others in a specific setting whose social structures have been developed through historical, culturally grounded actions. This study will be exploratory and conceptual in nature, intended to explain the nature and range of causal relationships between learning teaching and teaching, and thus to build basis for further studies.
About Hala Ghousseini

Pin It on Pinterest