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The NSF-funded AIM-TRU project involves studying Professional Learning Communities as a mechanism for supporting teachers engaged in deepening their content knowledge and refining their instructional practice. The presentation will describe the professional development model (learning cycle) that is at the center of our Professional Learning Community’s work. The PLCs meet monthly to explore the OER Formative Assessment Lessons (FALs) using the Teaching for Robust Understanding (TRU) framework as a lens for their study (map.mathshell.org). Video case studies provide opportunities for teachers to study episodes of student's reasoning and communication that took place while completing FALs. (tle.soe.umich.edu/MFA/) Discussion structures based on the TRU dimensions support enhanced content and pedagogical knowledge. The work shared in this presentation is based on a multiyear partnership between Math for America, SUNY Buffalo State, Montclair State University and DePaul University. The project both creates video case studies of select FALs and uses those video cases to prompt reflections on practice based on the dimensions of the TRU framework (Schoenfeld, 2016).
Our research focus is on teacher learning within the community (Wenger, 1998) and how the reflection and analysis structured along the five dimensions of TRU fosters deep mathematical conversations and pedagogical insight. Early findings from professional learning communities in Chicago, New York City and Buffalo provide support for the learning cycle being an effective tool for professional development within the mathematics teacher community.