Policy Implementation: Integrating the Personal and the Social

Walshaw, Margaret; Anthony, Glenda
July 2007
Mathematics Teacher Education & Development;2007, Vol. 8, p5
Academic Journal
The new Queensland Mathematics Years 1-10 Syllabus differs from previous syllabuses in that it has an outcomes structure that describes how students think, reason, and work mathematically. The main challenge for secondary teachers implementing the new syllabus lies in taking a more investigative approach to "working mathematically". This paper reports on a professional development project that supported a group of secondary mathematics teachers in planning and implementing mathematical investigations, consistent with the intent of the Queensland syllabus. The project was guided by a professional development model that applies Valsiner's zone theory to teachers' learning in complex environments. Participants were four pairs of mathematics teachers from four secondary schools in or near a Queensland regional city. Over five months the research team made three visits of two days each to work with the group of teachers. Follow up interviews were conducted nine months after the project's conclusion to investigate issues concerning sustainability. Implementation of the professional development model is illustrated by two case studies demonstrating different configurations of personal and contextual factors that supported or hindered teachers' learning. The outcomes of the project have implications for building a professional culture in schools, developing teacher leadership capacity, planning for sustainability, and scaling up.


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