Utvikling av inquirybasert matematikkundervisning : en kasusstudie av læreres tolkning og bruk av en inquiryinspirert læringsfilosofi formidlet gjennom longitudinelt utviklingsprosjekt
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The development project LBM – Learning Better Mathematics – took place in schools and kindergartens in Vest-Agder from 2007 to 2010. Two years after its end, I investigate the practice and the beliefs about learning and teaching of mathematics of four former participants, and I`m particularly interested in how these teachers interpret and implement an inquiry inspired learning philosophy. This means, instruction where the students are active and explore mathematics together, but it`s also about the teachers own professional development through exploration and community with others. The intention is not to evaluate the project or the teachers` abilities to use inquiry. Through observation of inquiry-based instruction, collection of teaching material, and semi-structured interviews, I have tried to get an insight into the way the teachers interpret the ideas they got to know through the project, to what extent they see them useful, and what kind of possibilities they see for using them. Then the problem statement of this study is: “In what ways do teachers interpret and use an inquiry inspired learning philosophy communicated through a longitudinal development project?” In my eyes, the finding that stands out the most is that the teachers use inquiry in quite different ways. This is visible in their choice of working methods, extent of tasks or activities, variation and differentiation. Besides, there are also differences in the way the teachers focus on their own professional development, and how they express thoughts about this study as a “win-win situation” where they benefit from discussing their instruction with others. Nevertheless, there are common features in how the teachers talk about cooperation with colleagues, both organized and more informal, including sharing of ideas for instruction. Another finding I point out is that all the teachers show an attitude in accordance with ideas behind an inquiry inspired learning philosophy. This is the case even if there apparently are differences in the way the teachers see inquiry as a general approach to their teaching. This attitude includes a common focus on the understanding of mathematics, students who are active and explain and give proof for their way of thinking, and an inquiring tone. At times they all use more traditional methods, like instruction from the board, learning by heart, and practicing on tasks, and at times they all have a disposition to explain and illustrate, instead of giving the students a possibility to find out something by themselves. Nevertheless, even when they use these more traditional methods, it`s clear that also these are characterized by a more or less explorative attitude. The last finding I give attention is the teachers` use of closed or partly open tasks that to a great extent lead the students in one certain direction, and I also discuss different explanations for such a use. Maybe a combination of different factors, such as students, curriculum, the exam, time for planning, and the purpose of the tasks, is crucial in the teachers` choices for design of tasks or activities. Altogheter, my findings implies that the teachers to a great extent hold beliefs and carry out a practice in line with ideas from the development project they took part in two years ago. I`m careful about claiming changes as results of the project, but I still propose a hypothesis that a part of the teachers beliefs and practice are results of the project`s design. It looks like the teachers have processed and adapted the ideas, and made them their own, and this has resulted in apparently quite different interpretations and practices.
Masteroppgave i matematikkdidaktikk- Universitetet i Agder, 2012