Collaborating for Success: Practice-based Learning Communities for Improvement in Secondary Mathematics Teaching

Research has pointed to the need to support mathematics teachers through sustained professional development. Teacher learning communities, where teachers come together for collective work, have been suggested as one productive context for teacher learning. However, those who facilitate the discussions (the facilitators) play a key role in ensuring that learning occurs. Recent work has provided initial images of facilitation practice, yet little is known about how to support facilitators in developing such practices.

To attend to this need, we are conducting a multi-year design-based research project. Our research project has two overarching goals:

1) Pragmatically, we aim to support the work of facilitators in planning and leading mathematics teacher learning communities.

2) We also aim to generate theory regarding how novice facilitators learn to facilitate communities that are productive for teacher learning.

For this project, we have partnered with pedagogical mathematics consultants from three English school boards in Quebec. The project entails: a) monthly meetings with researchers and consultants to support consultants in planning and leading teacher learning community meetings; b) monthly or bi-weekly teacher learning community meetings led by the consultants; c) classroom observations of lessons planned in the teacher learning community meetings. Data includes video recordings and field notes of the different components of the project and interviews with consultants and teachers.

This research project is funded by the Ministère d lÉducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur du Québec (2013-2017).

Research Team:

Marta Kobiela (McGill University), Kara Jackson (University of Washington), Annie Savard (McGill University), Terry Lin (Ministry of Education), Scosha Merovitz (McGill University/Bishops University), Vandana Chandrasekhar (McGill University), Hailey Iacono (McGill University), Saba Din (McGill University), Cheryl Cantin (McGill University)


Marta Kobiela, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Integrated Studies in Education (DISE)
Faculty of Education, McGill University
Department of Integrated Studies in Education
3700 McTavish
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1Y2
marta.kobiela [at]
(514) 398-4527 Ext. 094466 

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