Vol. 20 No. 1 (2010)

Tensions Faced by Mathematics Professional Developers

Published 2015-05-01


I recently worked on a research project in which I was the facilitator of a middle school mathematics professional development course, InterMath Rational Numbers, and part of a research team examining InterMath through a National Science Foundation-funded project, Does It Work?: Building Methods for Understanding Effects of Professional Development (DiW). In my position as one of the InterMath facilitators for the DiW project, I took a leading role in tailoring the original InterMath syllabus to meet the needs of the DiW project and the participating teachers. While the course was a great experience for me, it also brought up several tensions that, I suspect, often exist in mathematics education at all levels. In particular, there were several goals in the course that did not appear to be in opposition, yet led to many tensions in my actual practice. After describing my experience I will pose several questions to the mathematics education community about the interwoven, yet sometimes conflicting, goals we often have for our classes.