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ABSTRACT. In the context of U.S. and world wide educational reforms that require teachers to understand and respond to student thinking about mathematics in new ways, ongoing learning from practice is a necessity. In this paper we report on this process for one teacher in one especially productive year of learning. This case study documents how Ms. Statz’s engagement with children’s thinking changed dramatically in a period of only a few months; observations and interviews several years later confirm she sustained this change. Our analysis focuses on the mathematical discussions she had with her students, and suggests this talk with children about their thinking in instruction served both as an index of change, and, in combination with other factors, as a mechanism for change. We identified four phases in Ms. Statz’s growth toward practical inquiry, distinguished by her use of interactive talk with children. Motivating the evolution of phases were two sorts of mechanisms: scaffolded examination of her students’ thinking; and asking and answering questions about individual students’ thinking. Processes for generating and testing knowledge about children’s thinking ultimately became integrated into Ms. Statz’s instructional practices as she created opportunities for herself, and then students, to hear and respond to children’s thinking. KEY WORDS: discourse community, elementary mathematics, practical inquiry, teacher change, teacher learning, teacher reflection

Mathematics educators have articulated a vision for teaching mathematics that includes engaging students in problem solving, mathematical argumentation, and reflective communication (NCTM, 1991, 2001). Calls for instructional reform in mathematics have been accompanied by demands, in many countries, for radical changes in teaching practices. Many teachers have learned to teach in ways consistent with calls for reform (Cobb, Wood & Yackel, 1990; Cobb & McClain, 2001; Fennema et al., 1997; Hiebert, Carpenter, Fennema et al., 1997; Hiebert & Wearne, 1993; Jaworski, Wood & Dawson, 1999; Schifter & Fosnot, 1993; Sullivan & Mousley, 2001). Without attention to how teachers learn, however, our understanding of instructional reform is seriously incomplete (Franke, Carpenter, Levi & Fennema, 2001; Hammer & Schifter, 2001; Richardson & Placier, 2001; Schön, 1983; Sherin, 2002). A small but growing body of research has focused on teacher learning as practical inquiry into the problems of teaching (Jaworski, 1998, 2001;
Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education 7: 237–267, 2004. © 2004 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.



Lampert, 1985; Richardson, 1994; Tabachnick & Zeichner, 1991). This research has found that teachers who engage in practical inquiry are able to change their teaching in ways that are sustainable and self generative (Franke, et al., 2001). There has been little research, however, on the process of change towards inquiry-oriented practice. In the current study, we focus on one teacher’s use of practitioner knowledge and research-based knowledge as she learned to integrate practical inquiry into her teaching. We focus in particular on the mathematical discussions she had with her students, and argue that this talk with children about their thinking during instruction served both as an index of change, and, in combination with other factors, as a mechanism for change. We concentrate on this latter feature of teacher-student talk because, we contend, it provides insight into the nature of generative change (Franke et al., 2001) in teaching. This teacher’s mature teaching can be characterized as an integration of inquiry and instruction, in which both she and students learned. Although the process of change we have documented does not necessarily represent the path to practical inquiry that all teachers should take, it lends useful insight into how a teacher can combine practitioner knowledge and research-based knowledge to ask and answer questions profitably about teaching and learning. The teacher, Kathy Statz,1 taught mathematics using the precepts of Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI) (Carpenter & Fennema, 1992; Carpenter, Fennema, Franke, Levi & Empson, 1999; Carpenter, Fennema, Franke, Levi & Empson, 2002). CGI is a research and professional development program founded on the fact that children enter school with a rich store of informal knowledge that provides a basis for engaging in problem solving. We draw on previous research that documents levels of teachers’ engagement with children’s thinking in order to track Ms. Statz’s learning (Fennema et al., 1996; Franke et al., 2001; Simon & Schifter, 1991). We go beyond documenting the fact of change to describe how she progressed from one level to the next, initially by reflecting on instruction as questions about her students’ thinking were posed for her and, later, by posing and answering such questions herself. Changes in her practice accompanied these changes in her stance towards teaching. CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK Research suggests that teachers learn a great deal from teaching, but the content of that learning varies from teacher to teacher (Richardson, 1990; Richardson & Placier, 2001). Conditions that appear to be most condu-



cive to learning include: 1) membership in a “discourse community” that provides tools for framing and solving the problems of teaching (Ball, 1996; Cobb & McClain, 2001; Stein, Silver & Smith, 1998; Wenger, 1998); 2) processes for reflectively generating, debating and evaluating new knowledge and practices (Ball, 1996; Jaworski, 1988; Wilson & Berne, 1999; Wood, 2001); and 3) ownership of change, so that the problems of teaching that change is meant to address are problems that teachers want to solve and feel capable of solving (Loucks-Horsley & Steigelbauer, 1991; Simon & Schifter, 1991). None of these conditions, alone or in combination, assures ongoing teacher learning. Perhaps the most important is teachers’ own stance towards practice as inquiry (Jaworski, 1994; Schifter & Fosnot, 1993; Tom, 1985). This inquiry can take several forms. It can be exercised in interaction with students and the curriculum (Sherin, 2002) or removed from classroom interactions, in reflection on action (Mewborn, 1999; Schön, 1983, 1987; Wood, 2001). Little (1999) noted that the “systematic, sustained study of student work, coupled with individual and collective efforts to figure out how that work results from the practices and choices of teaching” may be one of the most powerful sites for teacher inquiry (p. 235). Student thinking is not the only focus possible, but it is one that has proven productive for teachers and students (Carpenter, Fennema & Franke, 1996; Carpenter, Fennema, Peterson, Chiang & Loef, 1989; Schifter, 2001; Steinberg, Carpenter & Fennema, 1994; Tzur, 1999). Teachers who change in ways that embrace new knowledge and beliefs about children’s problem solving do not necessarily sustain that change or continue to change. Franke et al. (2001) found that the most profound change among a group of 22 CGI teachers occurred for those who engaged in practical inquiry into children’s thinking. Those 10 teachers, more than the rest, thought of the research-based framework for children’s problem solving as “their own to create, adapt, and investigate” (Franke et al., 2001, p. 683). Franke et al. (2001) called this learning “generative change” because teachers used what they knew to generate new knowledge through practical inquiry, and saw this inquiry as part of their identity as professionals. In particular, 1) these teachers believed understanding children’s thinking was central to their work, and 2) their knowledge of children’s thinking went beyond the frameworks first presented to teachers in staff development four to eight years earlier. Not all teachers who use problem solving in teaching (e.g., NCTM, 2000) take a stance of inquiry toward their practice. There are many proficient teachers whose instruction is based on problem solving but who do not engage in practical inquiry. However, as Franke and colleagues (2001)



argued, practical inquiry is a powerful means to the continued improvement of practice. The case we report here is an example of a teacher who not only taught in reform-oriented ways, but also developed a stance of inquiry towards her practice. We examine in closer detail the process of change towards what Franke and colleagues (2001) called generative learning and the mechanisms that appeared to stimulate this change.

Levels of Teacher Change in Cognitively Guided Instruction The teacher in this study taught mathematics using Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI). In this approach to professional development, teachers are encouraged to use research-based knowledge about children’s mathematical thinking to make instructional decisions (Carpenter et al., 1999). It differs from most curricular interventions in that lessons are not prescribed for the teachers. Instead, teachers plan for instruction using what they know about their own students and their general knowledge of children’s problem solving. CGI consists of research information about the development of children’s thinking, portrayed through problem-type frameworks that emphasize semantic differences among problems and solution strategy hierarchies. Teachers learn which semantic features of problems are easiest for children to understand, and which features are more difficult. In wholenumber addition and subtraction, for example, problems involving actions on sets (e.g., joining two sets together) are generally easier than problems involving relationships between sets (e.g., comparing the sizes of two sets). Similar analyses have been developed for multiplication and division, and the development of base-ten concepts and multidigit strategies for addition and subtraction. (See Carpenter et al. [1999] for more information.) A longitudinal study of a sample of 21 first through third-grade teachers involved in CGI professional development documented five distinct levels of teachers’ use of children’s thinking (Fennema et al., 1996). Franke et al. (2001) revised the levels to reflect the integration of teacher beliefs and practices, and called the classification scheme engagement with children’s mathematical thinking (Table I). The levels are useful for characterizing teacher change, for they go beyond dichotomizing teachers’ practice into reform-oriented or not. Fennema et al. (1996) found that teachers who engaged with children’s thinking at levels 3, 4a, and 4b of the scale taught in ways that were distinctly different from teachers at levels 1 and 2. The key distinctions hinged on students’ opportunities to solve and discuss problems. Further, student outcomes were higher in the classrooms of teachers at the top three levels (see also Carpenter et al., 1989). We review these levels here and use them to describe Ms. Statz’s growth.



TABLE I Levels of Engagement with Children’s Mathematical Thinking from Franke, et al., 2001, p. 662 (Copyright 2001 by the American Educational Research Association; reproduced with permission from the publisher) Level 1: The teacher does not believe that the students in his or her classroom can solve problems unless they have been taught how. Does not provide opportunities for solving problems. Does not ask the children how they solved problems. Does not use children’s mathematical thinking in making instructional decisions. Level 2: A shift occurs as the teacher begins to view children as bringing mathematical knowledge to learning situations. Believes that children can solve problems without being explicitly taught a strategy. Talks about the value of a variety of solutions and expands the types of problems they use. Is inconsistent in beliefs and practices related to showing children how to solve problems. Issues other than children’s thinking drive the selection of problems and activities. Level 3: The teacher believes it is beneficial for children to solve problems in their own ways because their own ways make more sense to them and the teacher wants the children to understand what they are doing. Provides a variety of different problems for children to solve. Provides an opportunity for the children to discuss their solutions. Listens to children talk about their thinking. Level 4A: The teacher believes that children’s mathematical thinking should determine the evolution of the curriculum and the ways in which the teacher individually interacts with students. Provides opportunities for children to solve problems and elicits their thinking. Describes in detail individual children’s mathematical thinking. Uses knowledge of thinking of children as a group to make instructional decisions. Level 4B: The teacher knows how what an individual child knows fits in with how children’s mathematical understanding develops. Creates opportunities to build on children’s mathematical thinking. Describes in detail individual children’s mathematical thinking. Uses what he or she learns about individual students’ mathematical thinking to drive instruction.



At level 1, teachers mostly used direct instruction, and, as measured by interviews and beliefs scales, did not believe children could invent their own strategies to solve problems. There was little to no opportunity for children to solve problems. At Level 2, teachers began to believe children could solve problems on their own, but were inconsistent in implementing this belief. At Level 3, teachers believed children should solve problems using their own strategies because it led to deeper understanding. Children were presented with a variety of problems to solve and discuss. Teachers listened to children’s thinking, but did not necessarily build on it. Although they understood the problem-types and solution-strategy frameworks, they were not aware of individual children’s thinking in detail. Nonetheless, this level marked a departure from the teacher-centered instruction that characterized levels 1 and 2. At Level 4A, teachers believed children’s thinking should drive the curriculum. Children’s thinking was elicited and teachers could describe that thinking in detail. However, decisions about how to build on that thinking were made at a global level, for the whole class. At Level 4B, teachers believed the curriculum should be driven by what individual children know. They knew what problems individual children could solve, what strategies children used, and how children’s strategies fit with understanding mathematics. Teachers used this knowledge to build on individual children’s thinking in instruction. Fennema et al. (1996) argued that instruction at Levels 3, 4A and 4B “epitomize the process standards of the reform movement” (p. 429). Thus, teachers who reach levels 3 and above teach in ways that are consistent with U.S. calls for mathematics education reform (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 1991; 2000). Fennema et al. (1996) found 19 out of 21 teachers teaching at Level 3 or higher at the end of a four-year intervention; that is, 90% of the study teachers taught using reform-oriented practices by the study’s conclusion. Nine of those teachers began the study at Level 1, and seven teachers at Level 2. Twelve teachers’ instruction was classified as Level 3 by the end of the study, suggesting that attaining Level 4A or 4B is not common, even among teachers who change. The case study we report here deepens our understanding of how teachers may attain a level of teaching in which instruction is based on teachers’ generative knowledge of individual children’s mathematics (Level 4b in the scale).



METHOD This study was conducted in collaboration with one fourth grade teacher, Ms. Statz, who has worked as a classroom teacher and mathematics resource teacher for grades K-5. We collected data at three points in time. At the first point, the first author acted as an observer participant for a five-month period, in Ms. Statz’s third full year of teaching. At the second point, the following year, Ms. Statz was observed by the second author, over a period of several months. These data are used to ascertain whether Ms. Statz maintained the changes documented here, and are only briefly reported in this paper. At the third point, several years later, Ms. Statz was interviewed about her growth as a teacher, looking back on her career beginning with her pre-service teacher education. Data Collected in Ms. Statz’s Third Year of Teaching At the time of the observations, Ms. Statz had been teaching three years, all of which were with fourth grade classes. She had implemented CGI from the first year, after learning about it in her University certification program. That year’s class consisted of 21 students from a racially, ethnically, linguistically, and economically diverse population of families. A third of the class was new to the school. All the children’s names reported in this paper have been changed.

PROCEDURES Classroom observations. Thirty-four complete mathematics lessons were observed by the first author, over a five-month period. Lessons were audiotaped and parts were transcribed. Field notes were taken on teacherstudent interactions, students’ solution processes, class organization, and the teacher’s knowledge of, and efforts to build on, children’s thinking. Nine children were randomly selected as target students and their solution processes were documented regularly by observing them and asking them how they solved the problems. The other children were observed on a rotating basis. Teacher’s meetings with researcher. The first author met with Ms. Statz 13 times during the first year of data collection, usually once a week for 30–40 minutes. All meetings were audiotaped and transcribed, and included discussions about Ms. Statz’s knowledge of her children’s thinking, her decision making processes regarding content and classroom organization



and their relation to children’s thinking, and the researcher’s observations of specific solution strategies in interviews with students or in class observations. Student assessments. Each child was interviewed at length, at the beginning and at the end of the study, on solution strategies for word problems in a variety of content areas. Students’ mathematics journals were examined regularly by the researcher. Data analysis. Observations and interview decisions were made in response to the situations arising in the classroom and in the teacherresearcher discussions. Themes consistent with teacher change and the CGI framework for teachers’ engagement with children’s thinking were marked, such as teachers’ knowledge and beliefs, building on thinking in instruction, and teacher-identified dilemmas and resolutions (Denzin & Lincoln, 2000). Career Interview. Ms. Statz was interviewed by the second author several years after the primary data were collected. The interview was designed to elicit the story of her teaching career, in terms of formative events, such as high points, low points and turning points. The interview was adapted from interviews (Math Stories) used by Drake (under review)2 to elicit the stories for teachers involved in reform. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION In her third year of teaching, Ms. Statz changed dramatically in her knowledge of children’s thinking and the use of interactive talk to enhance this knowledge and build on her students’ understanding. In this section, we describe how Ms. Statz made the transition from good reform-oriented teaching, corresponding to level 3 in Franke et al.’s (2001) scale, to outstanding teaching, corresponding to level 4b, that incorporated practical inquiry as a way to continue to acquire knowledge and gain insights into teaching. We documented four distinct phases of change. We frame the changes Ms. Statz experienced in her third year of teaching by describing, based on her own reports, Ms. Statz’s earlier and later years of teaching and teacher learning.



Early Teaching Years Ms. Statz reported that she left her teacher certification program with a commitment to working with a belief in all children’s potential to succeed. She began her teaching career in a fourth-grade classroom. She described her first year teaching as one of two low points in her career because she had no materials to teach mathematics other than a commercial textbook series. She tried to use it, but felt “lousy” when she taught expository lessons. She felt her students were not learning. Ms. Statz decided to abandon the textbook in the middle of the year and to begin using the framework for problem types and solution strategies, the basis for CGI, to plan instruction. She had the support of her principal and a mathematics resource teacher, Ms. J, who was herself experienced at building on children’s thinking. During this time, Ms. Statz gladly accepted help from Ms. J, “who would say things like . . . ‘Don’t tell [the students] that. Let them find it out.’ ” Ms. Statz reported that, with help from Ms. J, she changed her mathematics instruction a great deal during that first year, but described the second year and beginning of the third as “more of a plateau.” The remaining stretch of the third year – the time we report on here – was described by Ms. Statz as “a big jump.” Third Year Teaching: A Year of Change In her third year of teaching, Ms. Statz experienced intense growth in understanding children’s thinking, knowledge of the content area, and beliefs about her role as a teacher. Concurrent with this learning, Ms. Statz developed a stance of inquiry into her teaching practice and its relationship to children’s thinking. In this section, we document these changes, and consider possible mechanisms of growth. These mechanisms include the types of situations that prompted Ms. Statz to perceive a need for change, and how her concerns and internal debates inhibited or contributed to change.

PHASE 1: LEVEL 3 ENGAGEMENT WITH CHILDREN’S THINKING In November of the school year, Ms. Statz’s instruction was consistent with calls for reformed classrooms (NCTM, 1989) and CGI’s Level 3 of engagement with children’s thinking (Table I): students solved challenging word problems using their own strategies; the teacher gave students opportunities to present and talk about their strategies; and children recorded how



they solved problems in mathematics journals. No textbook was used. Ms. Statz’s goals for her students coincided with several of those of the reform movement:
Being able to write about math. And being able to verbalize what they’re doing and thinking about math . . . Being able to feel comfortable enough about math to share what they’re talking about. And to develop an appreciation for each other. That people solve math problems differently and that’s okay.

Ms. Statz often chose topics for word problems that related to a story the children had read in class or to events in the children’s lives (e.g., selling things in the school store, counting the number of names on a child’s cast). Talk with Children about their Thinking Although students had opportunities to solve problems, Ms. Statz did not build on or extend children’s solutions strategies in her interactions with students. After children solved problems, there were short discussions of each problem, lasting 5 to 10 minutes, in which four or five different strategies were presented. Although Ms. Statz encouraged the children to talk about their strategies, she seldom challenged them to justify them, think of alternative solutions, or relate their strategies to more advanced strategies. She listened to what they said, and accepted it with little questioning. For example, one day late in the fall, Dan showed the class how he had solved a word problem by calculating 68 + 37. He drew 37 tallies and counted by ones from 68, using the tallies to keep track. Ms. Statz then called the next child. She did not question Dan’s strategy or relate it to more advanced strategies that used base-ten concepts (such as adding the three tens and the seven ones) presented by other children. Ms. Statz’s belief in accepting and encouraging a variety of strategies from children was so strong she perceived her role in helping children to progress as passive. Later in the school year, Ms. Statz reflected on her interactions with students at that phase: “I would just accept what was put on the board and that was all ‘good’, that’s fine. Go have a seat. Next person.” Further, Ms. Statz’s knowledge of individual children’s thinking was not well integrated with the research-based framework for children’s thinking that was the basis for CGI. In December we asked Ms. Statz to classify students in her class according to the strategies she predicted they would use, in our clinical interviews with them, to solve a set of problems. She accurately predicted the strategies of students who “direct modeled”3 to solve problems, but did not predict the more sophisticated strategies five of her children used. Although she knew who used more or less advanced



strategies, when it came to strategies beyond direct modeling, Ms. Statz did not describe or classify these strategies appropriately. Not surprisingly, this state of knowledge influenced Ms. Statz’s interactions with students. For example, in October, Ms. Statz assisted a child to solve a problem in a way that acknowledged neither his understanding nor the solution-strategies framework. David was trying to solve a Joining problem with an Unknown Change (“Raji has 17 dollars. He wants to buy a pet snake that costs 33 dollars. How many more dollars does he need to earn to buy the pet snake?”) by counting up from 17 to 33. He was keeping track of how many numbers were added by going back and forth between each number sequence: “first is 18, second is 19, third is 20” and so forth until he got to “ninth is 26.” He lost track of his double count here and stopped. His strategy was appropriate to the additive semantic structure of the problem but the method of keeping track appeared to make more demands on his working memory than he could handle. Ms. Statz’s first attempt to help David encouraged him to continue to think about the problem additively, but did not address his specific difficulty of keeping track. She suggested, instead, that he add 10 to 17, and then asked if it would be enough. Before David could respond, another child, Nick, said he had solved the problem by subtracting 17 from 33. Ms. Statz suggested to David that he could use a strategy similar to Nick’s and solve the problem by separating 17 counters from 33. Although this strategy is “concrete” it does not directly model the semantic structure of the problem, which is additive. It re-represents an additive semantic structure in terms of subtraction and so is a more difficult strategy (Carpenter et al., 1999). When Ms. Statz asked him to solve the problem using subtraction, she did not realize this strategy required knowledge of the inverse relationship between addition and subtraction that David may not have had. Beginning Inquiry. Discussion of episodes like this one began to help Ms. Statz reflect on how she used knowledge of children’s thinking in instruction. In a conversation with the participant researcher a few days later, Ms. Statz said she was often not sure how to respond to children, like David, who were struggling with a specific strategy. She then recalled a strategy she had recently seen in which a child used tallies to keep track of a count. She realized it would have been an appropriate strategy to suggest, because it would have addressed his specific difficulty of keeping track and would have allowed him to build on the additive structure that he saw in the problem. Thus, this conversation facilitated new connections for Ms. Statz among different episodes involving interactions with children’s thinking. In the next section, we document how, as the first author and Ms. Statz



continued to have these kinds of conversations, Ms. Statz became increasingly dissatisfied with her use of children’s thinking and began a transition from Level 3 towards Level 4A engagement with children’s thinking.

PHASE 2: MOTIVATION FOR TRANSITION FROM LEVEL 3 TO LEVEL 4A ENGAGEMENT WITH CHILDREN’S THINKING In this phase of change, Ms. Statz became dissatisfied with what she knew about children’s thinking. She realized that many of her students’ strategies were basic or even wrong and did not necessarily show well developed understanding. In response to this dissatisfaction, Ms. Statz formulated questions for teacher inquiry that guided her in later phases. She thought, in particular, about her knowledge of students’ strategies and her role as a teacher in facilitating more sophisticated strategies and deepening children’s understanding. Little action to answer her questions took place in this phase. Rather, this phase was distinguished by “reflection-on action” (Schön, 1987), as Ms. Statz stepped back from her practice and began to identify personal dilemmas. The transition from satisfaction to dissatisfaction with Level-3 type engagement with children’s thinking appeared to have been triggered by discussions with the first author about the researcher’s problem-solving interviews with the children. Ms. Statz sat in on some of the interviews and was intrigued, often surprised, and sometimes troubled by how children solved the problems. For example, one child, Pang, wrote down every single number between 398 and 500 to solve a Join Change Unknown problem (“Robin has 398 dollars. How many more dollars does Robin have to save to have 500 dollars to buy a new bike?”). Surprised by this strategy, Ms. Statz checked Pang’s journal and discovered she was using similar strategies there too:
The way she solved this is kind of strange . . . Can I go see what she’s got in her journal? . . . Yeah, she’s doing similar things.

Ms. Statz became especially concerned about seven children who were using the standard subtraction algorithm incorrectly in the interviews. Ms. Statz had not introduced this algorithm in class; instead, she encouraged children to generate their own conceptually grounded strategies for multidigit addition and subtraction. However, for problems involving regrouping, these seven children always subtracted the smaller digit from the larger one, an example of a buggy algorithm when the smaller digit is the minuend. When asked if she had seen the children using this kind of strategy in class, Ms. Statz replied, “That’s something that surprised



me during these interviews.” Because she believed children should always solve problems with understanding, and not by rote, she was taken aback:
The borrowing with regrouping really disturbs me now. That’s all that I’ve been thinking about now that we’ve been interviewing the kids and we see that they don’t have it. And they don’t; they’re not even coming up with a good way of explaining it. It doesn’t make sense to them.

Ms. Statz’s growing knowledge of the basic character and inadequacy of her students’ strategies, combined with a strong belief against grouping children by ability or even by type of errors, presented a dilemma for her: how to accommodate a wide range of children’s thinking without resorting to ability grouping or remediation. Maintaining her belief in the centrality of student-generated strategies to the development of understanding and confidence, she started to think about how she could assist these children to grow mathematically without directly telling them how to solve problems. She re-examined her belief that the teacher should accept whatever strategies children chose to solve problems, and began to believe she needed to be more active in helping children progress – especially those children who used incorrect strategies or still counted by ones to solve problems involving quantities in the hundreds. Ms. Statz’s deliberations about children’s buggy subtraction algorithms illustrate these nascent changes. She discussed with the first author the fact that the children did not connect their paper-and-pencil algorithms to their knowledge of working with base ten blocks. For the first time, she debated whether to show children how paper-and-pencil algorithms could be modeled using base-ten blocks to make sure children understood:
I was even struggling with the idea of getting the overhead projector and doing it for the whole class. Here are the base ten blocks, here is my marker and this is what we are doing. But maybe we should try it, let them construct it themselves first? I am struggling with how to go about doing that. Give them lots of take away problems and try to go around to each person individually? That is the hard part. That’s what I’m trying to figure out, how to do that.

In summary, in this phase, Ms. Statz became aware of the inadequacy of her knowledge of children’s strategies and some of the consequences for her students. As she learned more about their thinking by sitting in on the participant researcher’s one-on-one problem-solving interviews with her students, dilemmas arose regarding her teaching, because she saw evidence of rote or underdeveloped understanding. This phase was an intense one for Ms. Statz, characterized by uncertainty and unresolved questions; she reported she thought about these issues a lot, “even when I first wake up.”



The net result was that Ms. Statz developed a deeply felt motivation to learn more about the children’s thinking.

PHASE 3: LEVEL 4A ENGAGEMENT WITH CHILDREN’S THINKING This phase was characterized by the integration of practical inquiry into Ms. Statz’s practice. Motivated by a need to know more about her students’ thinking, Ms. Statz began to assess systematically individual children in depth and decide how to use the information in planning instruction. Because Ms. Statz was interested in specific questions such as how David used counting on to solve Join Change Unknown problems, and how to help Pang go beyond counting by ones to find triple-digit differences, she required more talk with individual students in the context of instruction. Talking with Children about their Thinking. In January, Ms. Statz began to spend much more time with individual children at their desks. Previously, these sessions usually lasted no more than a minute. Now they often ran for more than 10 minutes per child or a pair of children: “What I am noticing in these last couple of weeks is that I am spending less time with all kids and more time with particular kids.” Ms. Statz was especially interested in children who were using inefficient or incorrect strategies. She began to probe their thinking more, to help them use base-ten blocks to represent quantities in the hundreds and thousands, and questioned them in ways that built on their thinking. For example, to solve 378 + ? = 600, Mark started to represent the 378 with base-ten cubes. Ms. Statz asked him if he could do it in his head, and he replied that he did not think so. So Ms. Statz scaffolded a strategy that followed his use of base-ten materials, but focused on operating on number relationships instead of base-ten blocks. She asked him how much was needed to get from 378 to 380 and he immediately gave the answer 2. Then she asked how much was needed to get from 380 to 400; he answered 20. And to get from 400 to 600, he knew it would take 200. Mark then totaled the addends on paper, to get 222. This time spent talking with individual students was fruitful for Ms. Statz. Her growing knowledge of their thinking helped her to adapt instruction to their needs and motivated her to consider children’s thinking in specific content areas:
I definitely think I am noticing more than I noticed before. And not only just noticing it but knowing where to take it and how to push further and how to question more. . . .



This period was also stressful to Ms. Statz, because as she learned more about her students’ thinking, her questions grew:
I think I am more frustrated now about teaching math. . . . I am more exhausted . . . because I am then spending more time thinking about it. Although the things that I think are coming out of it are good, I am seeing what needs to be done. I am spending more time with kids who need specific things. I think it is making a difference . . . Now there are all these other questions that are on top of it.

After a few weeks of focusing on specific children and interacting extensively with them, Ms. Statz felt more confident in her knowledge of individual children, but she was frustrated she did not have enough time to do this kind of in-depth work with everyone. A new dilemma arose:
But sometimes I feel like I’m spending too much time and neglecting the rest of the classroom. I’ve felt like that, more frustrated almost, this year because I’ve needed more time with each kid.

Ms. Statz wanted the benefits of talking extensively with children about their thinking to extend to all. Thus, she started thinking of new ways to organize her class that would allow her to spend more time with individuals but ensure that all children were working and progressing. When the participant researcher suggested that Ms. Statz would be able to talk to more children if they worked in pairs, Ms. Statz rejected the idea, because she believed working in pairs would not be beneficial to students who used significantly different strategies to solve problems. Two days later, Ms. Statz devised a solution that accommodated her concern. She asked the children to “choose partners who solve problems in a similar way to you.” Each pair got a sheet with the problems and a space for two strategies. Each child could use his or her own strategy or the pair could generate two strategies together. The children were fairly accurate in choosing partners who were solving problems in a similar way. Ms. Statz had time to work with individuals while the other children worked with their partners. Having ten pairs to work with instead of 20 individuals made the class more manageable for Ms. Statz. To help children move forward to using more sophisticated strategies, Ms. Statz told them she would ask both children from a pair to explain his or her partner’s strategy at discussion time. Most children were able to explain their partner’s strategy. When a child had difficulties, the partner explained the strategy. More children were called to the board in this way, during the discussion time, and giving opportunities to more children to share strategies helped to solve another issue that concerned Ms. Statz. Ms. Statz started thinking of how to choose problems to help children progress:



I wouldn’t say it is any easier (to come up with the problems for the children). In fact, it may be more challenging to decide what type of problems to use . . . I think I am thinking more of the problems . . . and the kids who are doing the problems that I am writing specifically for them.

In summary, in this phase Ms. Statz learned about her students’ solution strategies by talking with children individually about their thinking. The new need to spend much time with individuals stimulated her to think of how to change the class organization. She began to experiment, an activity that continued in the fourth phase. She continued to generate new questions and look for solutions. This phase corresponded to Franke et al.’s (2001) Level 4A classification of engagement with children’s thinking. Ms. Statz interacted with students individually to learn more about their thinking. She acquired detailed knowledge of what her students understood and the kinds of strategies they could use. But decisions about what to teach were still largely driven by the global notions of children’s thinking and the curriculum. In the final phase of change, Ms. Statz began to build on individual children’s knowledge in instruction. PHASE 4: TRANSITION TO LEVEL 4B ENGAGEMENT WITH CHILDREN’S THINKING: BUILDING ON CHILDREN’S THINKING IN WHOLE-GROUP DISCUSSIONS In this phase Ms. Statz considered how her teaching practices influenced children’s thinking, and how what she learned about children’s thinking influenced her teaching practices. She began to experiment with using the knowledge she gained from working with the children individually to guide whole-class discussions. Ms. Statz wanted to increase the number of children who presented strategies to the group, yet felt that the sharing time was not productive for many children because they were not listening to or thinking about the presenters’ strategies. Ms. Statz was especially concerned about children who might not understand the more sophisticated strategies. To address this concern, she started to get students more actively involved in the discussions: she would typically stop the child who was presenting and ask the class or specific children what they thought the child’s next step would be. Ms. Statz asked other questions, in addition, such as “Can you tell what she did?” “How is her strategy different than somebody else’s?” “How can we make this strategy easier? Clearer?” The children became more involved during discussions and Ms. Statz increased the discussion time considerably, from 5–10 minutes early in the year up to two consecutive lessons of 45 minutes of discussion for one set



of problems. The discussions in this phase lasted on average 21.8 minutes (based on 18 observations), whereas discussions in phases 1, 2 and 3 lasted an average of 7.9 minutes (based on 16 observations). Ms. Statz’s efforts to elicit children’s thinking in discussions and involve the audience in responding to this thinking led to a breakthrough in her engagement with children’s thinking. She started to use the wholeclass discussions to help individual children progress. This practice marked a change in instructional goals and orientation toward the use of interactive talk:
I never used the sharing strategies as a time to move the kids along. That was just a time for the kids to be able to talk about their strategies . . . And maybe that’s why they’re being more focused on it (now). Because I’m including more of them in the discussion. I have given the kids more time to discuss their strategies. And I have used the information that I am getting from their strategies to move other kids. In the past I would just have [student] show the class that problem and that would be all, but not use it as a teaching moment, to teach the rest of the class about renaming fractions or whatever it was.

Ms. Statz remembered individual children’s strategies or difficulties that were elicited while working one-on-one with children and addressed them in whole-class discussions. The way in which Ms. Statz began to use whole-class discussions to help individual children move from strategies based on counting by ones to strategies that incorporated base-ten concepts was especially striking. The whole-group discussion of the following problem typifies these kinds of discussions: “Ellen has 287 books. How many more books would she need to have 400 books?” First Ms. Statz called on Anne, who usually solved problems like this one by writing all the numbers between 287 and 400 and counting them by ones. This time, Anne began to solve the problem, with help of her partner, by adding 200 to 287 to get 487. The teacher stopped her and asked the class what problem Anne was facing at that point. Some children said that Anne had 87 too many. Ms. Statz asked a few children what they would do to continue and then asked Anne if that was what she did. She helped Anne and the rest of the class to do the calculation 200 − 87, needed for the next step, by counting down 80 by 10s to 120, and subtracting 7 from 120 by taking away 5 then 2 more. When Ms. Statz called on Jared, he was hesitant to share his strategy with the class, because, he said, “It will take me years.” He drew tally marks and wrote next to each single number: 288, 289, 290, 291, . . . The teacher stopped him when he got to 310 (in his notebook he had drawn tallies all the way to 400) and asked him what he needed to get from 300 to 400. Jared said 10 10s or 2 50s. Other children suggested one 100 and Jared added the 100 to the 13 tallies he made to count from 287 to 300. Jared concluded by saying the strategy was “really easy.”



Another child presented the beginning of his solution, writing “287 + 100” vertically. Ms. Statz stopped him and asked Anne again what 287 plus 100 was. Then she asked a few of the children, who tended to use ones instead of tens or hundreds to calculate multidigit sums, a series of problems in which 100 was added (387+100, 487+100 . . . 987+100). The child who solved the problem showed the next step: 387 + 10. Ms. Statz returned to Jared and asked him to solve the problem. When he had difficulty, she asked another child from the group she was targeting that day. The next steps, involving 397 plus 3, then 100 plus 10 plus 3, were handled by Ms. Statz in a similar manner. The fourth child who came to the board solved this problem using the standard subtraction algorithm (400 − 287 written vertically, with regrouping from right to left). He, as well as other children, explained the conceptual underpinnings of each step. For example, Mary explained that she saw 400 as 40 tens: if you take 1 ten, 39 tens are left, so you just write 39 tens and a 10 on top. In this example, Ms. Statz used whole-class discussion to help specific children, such as Anne, to construct base-ten concepts and to use more advanced strategies. Her agenda that day involved helping these children by building on her knowledge of their strategies. Before this lesson, Ms. Statz rarely, if ever, attempted to build on children’s thinking in wholeclass discussions. Afterwards, she regularly used whole-class discussions like this one to assist individual children. Whole-Group Discussion and Inquiry into Mathematics. As Ms. Statz continued to grow in her use of group discourse to advance children’s understanding, she broadened her inquiry into new domains, such as multidigit multiplication and division, and fractions. With these investigations came new uses of interactive talk to build content in ways that were greater than the sum of the individual contributions to a discussion. For instance, to elicit children’s fraction thinking, Ms. Statz began by giving partitive and measurement division problems that have fractions as answers, and asked children to solve them using their own strategies (Baker, Carpenter, Fennema, & Franke, 1992). Although Ms. Statz did not instruct the students in specific strategies, all students were successful in solving the problems and depicting fractional quantities using drawings and diagrams. Near the end of March, Ms. Statz, with much excitement, told the first author what had happened in class. The day before, the children wrote and solved their own word problems. Kanisha, a student who routinely counted by ones to solve multidigit problems, wrote a problem similar to the kind



of problems they have been solving: “There were 20 cakes and there were 7 kids. How much cake will each kid get?” Kanisha solved the problem using an unconventional partitioning strategy based on repeated halving. To begin, she gave each child two whole cakes. She then partitioned the remaining six cakes in half, and wrote the numbers 1 through 7 on the first seven halves to designate 1 half for each of seven children (Figure 1).

Figure 1. children.

Kanisha’s repeated halving strategy for sharing 6 remaining cakes among 7

Continuing, she halved each of the remaining halves, to create enough fourths for seven people. She wrote the numbers 1–7 to indicate giving one fourth to each of the seven children. A half and a fourth remained in the last circle. Ignoring the fourth, Kanisha divided the half into seven pieces and again wrote 1–7 on each. (Ms. Statz later helped her create an appropriate representation of equal pieces). Thus, at this point, each sharer had one half, one half of a half, and one seventh of a half. Ms. Statz reminded her to share the remaining fourth among the seven children and Kanisha did that. Therefore, each child also got an additional one seventh of a fourth. Ms. Statz then helped Kanisha decide the sizes of the fractional pieces. She helped her see that, since the half was divided into seven pieces, each piece was 1/14: “We said, if there are 7 slices in one-half, how many pieces will be in a whole cake?” Kanisha knew it was 14. In a similar manner, she figured that each of the seven pieces in the fourth was 1/28. Thus Kanisha gave as an answer for her problem: 2 + 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/14 + 1/28. Although this kind of strategy is not common in the standard teaching of fractions, it is common in classrooms where teachers encourage children to generate their own strategies (Empson, 1999). As the following account of the whole-group discussion suggests, strategies based on non-standard partitions of sharing situations, such as this one, can be mathematically rich (Streefland, 1991). Ms. Statz accepted Kanisha’s strategy and was excited by her achievement: “The fact that Kanisha did that was fabulous. I thought it was really good. But then what came out of it (in the whole class discussion) . . . was really cool.” After Kanisha had presented her strategy to the class, Ms. Statz asked the children what the result would be if the fractions were combined. She thus used Kanisha’s strategy as a basis for posing a new



problem to the class. Ms. Statz prompted the children by asking them how many twenty-eighths were in one-fourteenth. Then they figured how many twenty-eighths were in one-fourth and one-half and found that Kanisha’s fractions combined to make 2 and 24/28 cakes. Another girl then said she saw an easier way to solve the problem: divide the six cakes that were left into seven pieces each (because there were seven children sharing) and each child gets one seventh from each cake for a total of 2 and 6/7 cakes for each child. Ms. Statz used the two apparently different answers as an opportunity to explore the idea of equivalent fractions, which was new to the children. She again posed a new problem to the group by asking how they could decide whether the two amounts were the same or not. Ms. Statz did not see immediately how to help the children answer this question meaningfully and she resorted to a symbolic technique based on reducing 24/28 to 6/7 by finding the greatest common factor. However, the following year, Ms. Statz used opportunities like this one to elicit children’s informal justifications about how equivalent fractional amounts were related (e.g., Empson, 2002, Figure 6; this example of a student’s work came from Ms. Statz’s classroom). In this example, we see how Ms. Statz not only reacted to and built on children’s strategies spontaneously in discussion, but also used the problem and children’s different strategies as a basis for new, more challenging problems. Through Ms. Statz’s orchestration of the group’s discussion, the class explored mathematics topics that went beyond each child’s effort. In summary, in this phase Ms. Statz’s knowledge of children’s thinking continued to grow. We classify her engagement with children’s thinking as Level 4b on the CGI scale, because she used knowledge of specific children’s thinking to inform classroom interactions. She found ways to build on the children’s strategies in whole-class discussions and not just individually. Continued Inquiry As Ms. Statz continued to grow in her use of group discourse to advance children’s understanding, she broadened her inquiry into new mathematics domains. With these investigations came new uses of interactive talk to build content in ways that were greater than the sum of individual contributions to discussion. The following year, the second author documented Ms. Statz’s continued inquiry into children’s thinking in the domains of fractions and multidigit multiplication and division (e.g., Baek, 1998; Empson, 2002). Later, Ms. Statz became involved in inquiry into children’s algebraic thinking (Carpenter, Franke, & Levi, 2003).



Retrospective Reflection In a career interview several years after the events reported here, Ms. Statz was asked about her growth as a teacher. She attributed her growth in teaching to two main factors: a second pair of eyes in the classroom focused on children’s thinking, and the freedom to experiment with instruction based on children’s thinking. A second pair of eyes focused on children’s thinking. When asked to describe the most important turning points in her teaching, Ms. Statz mentioned the times, such as in the year reported here, when she had a second person in her classroom, who was knowledgeable about children’s thinking and who could see and describe things to her that would have otherwise gone unremarked. Interactions with people like the mathematics resource teacher, or researchers such as us, provided some of the “raw material” for Ms. Statz to reflect on her students’ knowledge. Her prior beliefs in the value of children’s thinking provided some of the motivation for this reflection. Freedom to experiment. Ms. Statz credited the freedom she had to give children problems to solve, to talk to her children about their thinking, and to experiment with interactions with students for the growth she experienced as a teacher. In her current role as a mathematics resource teacher, she worried that an emphasis on teaching using printed curriculum materials – even standards-based curriculum programs – may prevent teachers’ deep engagement with children’s thinking. Because of an increased emphasis, in many districts, on following these programs, Ms. Statz said that teachers do not have the same kinds of opportunities to experiment and find out what their children know and can learn. They feel that they do not have the freedom to have discussion sessions that last 45 minutes because there is so much to cover. Ms. Statz believed that, unless teachers are able to have lengthy discussions with children about their thinking, they will not be able to learn from their teaching – or at least not the same kinds of things about children’s thinking that she had learned.

DISCUSSION This case study documents how Ms. Statz’s engagement with children’s thinking changed dramatically in a period of only a few months. In Phase 1, children talked about their strategies, and Ms. Statz listened, but rarely challenged children to extend their thinking or referred to their strategies



in later discussion. In Phase 2, as the participant researcher shared information with Ms. Statz about how individual children were thinking, Ms. Statz realized there was a discrepancy between what she knew about her students’ problem solving and how her students actually solved problems. She realized, in particular, that some students used mistaken strategies and others used very basic strategies, and was concerned by this information. In Phase 3, Ms. Statz began to make time in her instructional routine to talk to children in more depth about their thinking, for her own benefit. She concentrated on students whose thinking she believed to be problematic in some way, and struggled with how to support these students’ learning by building on their thinking, rather than imposing her own. Her solution involved engaging students in talking to other students who solved problems in a similar way. Finally, in Phase 4, Ms. Statz began to use information gathered in one-on-one interactions to build on children’s thinking in group discussions. Instruction was guided by knowledge of individual children’s thinking. Ms. Statz continued to benefit from talking with children about their thinking, but now that talk was also designed to help children advance. The extent of the change over the course of the study is especially striking, given the fact that, at the beginning, Ms. Statz already used many reform-oriented ideas in her teaching and believed that children should construct their own knowledge. Her engagement with children’s thinking corresponded, at the beginning of the study, to Level 3 in Franke et al.’s (2001) scale. By the end of the her third year of teaching, Ms. Statz’s engagement with children’s thinking was characterized by generative learning, and corresponded to Level 4b engagement with children’s thinking. We argue that the primary driving force behind the process of change was Ms. Statz’s need to know more about children’s mathematical thinking, and her pursuit of this knowledge in interaction with students. This need was founded on her beliefs about the importance of studentgenerated strategies, first fostered in her pre-service teacher-education courses, and on her realization of gaps in her knowledge of her students’ thinking. It was nurtured by her participation in the discourse community of CGI teachers and researchers. As she organized her interactions with children to learn more about their thinking, new dilemmas arose about how to increase children’s opportunities to express their thinking and to learn by listening to other children’s thinking. These dilemmas, in turn, led to solutions that allowed Ms. Statz to continue to learn about children’s thinking while children learned of each others’ thinking. Ms. Statz began to use whole-group discussions not just as displays of thinking, but also



as arenas for building on thinking. Each of these reflection cycles was grounded by increasingly detailed knowledge of children’s thinking. Ultimately, learning about children’s thinking was integrated with classroom participation structures to elicit and build on children’s thinking. In this way, Ms. Statz’s learning about children’s thinking became generative. CONDITIONS FOR TEACHER CHANGE In outlining the conceptual framework for this study, we discussed three conditions for teacher change based on the research literature. We revisit these conditions here, and speculate about their contributions to Ms. Statz’s change as a teacher. 1) Membership in a discourse community. The CGI framework for children’s thinking provided a basis for conversation and other kinds of interactions about a phenomenon central to Ms. Statz’s work as a teacher: children’s mathematics learning. By virtue of interactions with “old timers” (Lave & Wenger, 1991; Wenger, 1998) such as Ms. J and the participant researchers, Ms. Statz became an increasingly knowledgeable member of this discourse community. Because the tools for thinking about her teaching provided in this discourse community intersected with the problems that were most pressing for her as a teacher, Ms. Statz was motivated to use and adapt these tools for herself. Although there is no single point at which Ms. Statz can be said to have joined this discourse community, her opportunities for engaging in it were multiple and occurred in a number of contexts. 2) Processes for reflectively generating, debating and evaluating new knowledge and practices. The processes for producing new knowledge and practices identified in this case study were, for the most part, informally organized. Other than during her pre-service teacher education, Ms. Statz did not participate, in her early teaching years, in formally organized learning opportunities, such as professional development workshops in mathematics. However, these informal processes were powerful for her, perhaps because, in partnership with old timers in the CGI discourse community, she was able to formulate and address some of the most pressing practice-based dilemmas. We identified two sorts of processes in particular for generating new knowledge and practices at work in Ms. Statz’s third year of teaching. The first process involved the participant researcher making available new information to Ms. Statz about her students’ thinking, through conver-



sation, examination of students’ written work, and one-on-one problem solving interviews observed by Ms. Statz. The process of examining her students’ thinking in partnership with the participant researcher (a “second pair of eyes”) served as a kind of scaffolding to Ms. Statz’s own inquiry into children’s thinking by placing in the foreground aspects of her students’ thinking she had previously not seen. The second process involved Ms. Statz’s independent inquiry into students’ thinking. As she took ownership of questions about children’s thinking, as well as the outcomes, she became engaged in practical inquiry. This inquiry included questions about class organization such as how to assist struggling children, how children learn from each other, and how to conduct meaningful discussions. Thus, processes for generating and testing knowledge about children’s thinking became integrated into Ms. Statz’s teaching as she created opportunities for herself, and then students, to hear children’s thinking. In contrast, at the beginning of the study Ms. Statz did not learn from her students in the manner in which she did later, even though she gave them opportunities to solve problems in their own ways and to talk about their strategies. We suggest a change in Ms. Statz’s perception of her role as a teacher, from passive to active, provided a motivation to learn more about what her students were doing in order to use that knowledge to help them advance. She realized that, even as a teacher who valued children’s informal thinking, she could have goals that called for children’s thinking to progress. We speculate this passive role is a common step in teachers’ development. It seems there is a need at the beginning of teacher change to “step back,” and not intervene in children’s problem solving very much (Jacobs & Ambrose, 2003). After becoming convinced children can generate their own solution strategies, teachers become active again but in a different way from before, by: helping students develop their own strategies; helping students who do not understand the meaning of the problem; helping them express their solutions in multiple forms; asking probing questions; and leading discussions that build on children’s ideas and stress the mathematics content of those ideas. 3) Ownership of change. Ms. Statz’s transition to practical inquiry is evidence of ownership of the change she experienced. That Ms. Statz made this transition may be due, in part, to the nature of the participant researcher’s interactions with her. The participant researcher did not give Ms. Statz ready-made activities, but encouraged her to make her own



decisions about instruction. Reflecting later on the process she experienced in this collaboration, Ms. Statz commented:
You allowed me to voice my concerns. And you were somebody to listen to the things that I had problems with. You gave suggestions. Yet you also said: ‘It’s up to you. Do it your way. Try it your way. It’s up to you with your class.’ I guess I learned to stop asking for advice and I learned to start thinking on my own. Because I knew you would say, ’What do you think?’ So then I was already doing some of the thinking and trying it out on you more.

Because of the participant researcher’s insistence that Ms. Statz knew her own students best, Ms. Statz developed a predisposition to ask and answer her own questions, which led to a sense of professional autonomy. Further, without the freedom to experiment with the curriculum, cited by Ms. Statz as key to her development as a teacher, she may not have developed this predisposition, no matter what the participant researcher’s stance was.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE What have we, as researchers and teacher educators, learned from conducting this study? How has the collaboration between teacher and researcher-teacher educator helped us educate other teachers? We present some insights based on the first author’s subsequent experience with teachers from about 80 schools in Israel, many of whom made major changes in their teaching and pre-service education. Some adjustments were necessary in adapting teachers’ use of CGI to Israeli classrooms, because of larger class sizes (35–40 students), a different culture, and the national curriculum. The findings of this study informed the professional development work in Israel in three ways. In her work with teachers, the first author focused on 1) eliciting and interpreting children’s thinking, 2) building on children’s thinking in one-on-one interactions, and 3) building on children’s thinking in group discussions. The teacher development program included study of children’s solution strategies, use of challenging problems, encouraging a variety of solutions, discussion of classroom organization, and examination of teachers’ beliefs about the kinds of problems children can solve without direct instruction in strategies. Special importance was attached to understanding and aiming for the highest levels of teacher development in Table I. It is a difficult task for teachers to obtain a clear picture of a student’s current level, to understand his/her difficulties and to help in a manner that builds on his/her thinking. Because it was not feasible to have a “second pair of eyes” in each classroom, the teacher development included analyses of



written or videotaped examples of individual students and teachers interacting with students from participating teachers’ classrooms. A second important topic is how the teacher can stimulate class discussions that build on children’s thinking and help them progress. The experience with Ms. Statz was an important catalyst in bringing this topic to the forefront of the teacher development. For example, one useful activity was to ask the teachers to bring four examples of children’s strategies on a problem and to think how they could build a discussion around them. This activity helped the teachers understand what sorts of questions they could ask and what mathematical ideas to emphasize. CONCLUSION An enduring problem in teacher change is the tension between inducting teachers into new instructional practices and respecting teachers’ professional autonomy. In this study, these tensions were represented, respectively, by CGI and Ms. Statz’s personal teaching dilemmas. Part of Ms. Statz’s learning concerned learning problem types and solutions strategies; but the other, more important part had to do with learning how to use this knowledge and how to generate this kind of knowledge by/for herself in practice – that is, to conduct practical inquiry into children’s thinking. Ultimately, this practical inquiry was integrated into her interactions with children and became generative. The result was a body of knowledge for Ms. Statz that was richer and more complex than CGI’s researchbased framework for children’s thinking because it was informed by the “concrete particulars” (Lampert, 1985) of her own practice-based dilemmas, and driven by her growing knowledge of her own students’ thinking. Ms. Statz reported that she began teaching with a strong belief in the value of children’s thinking. Many teachers have such a belief, but without specific knowledge of children’s thinking, they may not be able fully to implement it. We conjecture that mechanisms that help teachers see their students’ thinking in new ways, combined with the freedom to respond to, and experiment with, this information about children’s thinking are key to the development of practical inquiry in teachers. More specifically, a turning point for Ms. Statz was the realization that talk with children about their thinking was valuable, not only because it provided opportunities for students to articulate their thinking, but also because it provided a context for her to ask and answer questions about children’s thinking for herself. As Ms. Statz learned how to use the information gathered in these interactions, she began to influence the direction of these conversations



through specific questions about cognitively, socially, and mathematically appropriate extensions of individual children’s thinking. Although Ms. Statz accomplished remarkable change during the course of the study, the process was difficult. The experience of phases of uncertainty and conflict that had no obvious solutions was emotionally trying. Yet Ms. Statz was open to seeing and responding to these dilemmas, even though she was not sure what would result. We believe this openness is attributable to a school atmosphere that was open to teachers’ experimentation, and the emphasis by the participant researcher on Ms. Statz’s capacity to ask and answer questions about her practice. Finally, whatever form participation in a discourse community takes, we believe it must emphasize the teacher’s professional autonomy. This emphasis reinforces the capacity of teachers for practical inquiry, and provides a means for the discourse community itself to adapt and remain vital in response to new perspectives.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS We would like to thank Kathy Statz, the teacher who collaborated in this study, for her major contributions; Ellen Ansell, Linda Levi and Debra L. Junk, for their feedback on earlier drafts of this manuscript; three anonymous JMTE reviewers and editor Peter Sullivan for their suggestions for improvement; and Lou Her for translating interviews from English to Hmong for two students. The first and second authors thank the University of Wisconsin-Madison for support as visiting scholars in the Wisconsin Center for Education Research and the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, respectively, during part of the time this study was conducted and written. The research reported in this paper was supported in part by the National Science Foundation under Grants No. MDR-8955346 and MDR-8954629. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

1 Her real name, used with her permission. 2 Drake, C. (under review). Mathematics stories: The role of teacher narrative in the

implementation of mathematics education reform. 3 Children initially direct model story problems, representing each object in a story problem one for one in the strategy, and acting out the semantic structure of the story with these objects. For example, to solve a Join Change Unknown problem, such as “Lucy



had 7 dollars. How many more dollars does she need to buy a puppy that costs 11 dollars?” by direct modeling, a child would represent the first set of dollars with 7 objects (e.g., counters, tallies), and join other objects to the set until there was a total of 11 objects. The child would then count the set that was joined to the initial set for the answer to the story problem. Strategies beyond direct modeling include counting, deriving facts, and imposing a different semantic structure on the problem (see Carpenter et al., 1999 for more information).

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