Mistakes as Tools for Learning in U.S. Mathematics Teaching: Studying a Video-Enhanced Researcher-Teacher Collaboration for the Integration of Research into Practice

Investigator: Rossella Santagata

Funding: Spencer Foundation

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new"
Albert Einstein

This project investigates ways research knowledge may be translated, through researcher-teacher collaboration, into workable strategies for classroom teaching. The aspect targeted here is the fundamental problem of handling students' mistakes during instruction.

The collaboration model draws from research conducted by Dr. Santagata on the use of video as a tool for the analysis of teaching and for teacher reflection. Participating mathematics teachers from a local school will examine, through video, mistake-handling strategies in both U.S. and other countries' lessons and read relevant research. These materials will be introduced by Dr. Santagata, who has previously studied strategies teachers use to respond to students' errors in various cultures, including the U.S. and countries whose students perform significantly better than U.S. students on international assessments of mathematics achievement.

Through this collaboration, teachers will jointly design instructional strategies and test them in their classrooms through a few planning/teaching/reflecting cycles. Data will be collected on teachers' forms of participation in this professional development experience and on changes in their teaching practices.

Findings will contribute to the literature on teacher learning by providing a model for integrating researcher knowledge into classroom practices and for designing professional development programs focused on teaching practices that make effective use of students' mistakes.