Decomposing Practice in Teacher Professional Development: Examining sequences of learning activities
In this paper, we engage in an analysis of professional development design, examining professional development activities and the sequencing of professional learning tasks. We use a theoretical framework typically used in pre-service teacher education to understand the design of one professional development program. Our overarching goal is to theorize about how to design professional development and sequence professional learning tasks for practicing teachers. Specifically, this study uses the concepts of decompositions of practice (Grossman et al., 2009), and levels of decomposition (Boerst, Sleep, Ball, & Bass, 2011) to analyze a professional development program developed to help elementary school teachers implement high-quality mathematics discourse in their classrooms. We examine the ways the program decomposes practice, the sequencing of different levels of decomposition in the professional development sequencing of activities, and the results regarding teacher change in connection with different levels of decomposition. We use the results of this analysis to discuss one productive way of organizing activities within professional development programs.
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