Promoting Exploratory Teaching in Mathematics: A Design Experiment on a CPD course for Teachers
In this paper we present a design experiment on a continued professional development (CPD) course for mathematics teachers. It consisted of three teaching cycles. Between them we analyzed the collected data in order to discover the factors affecting the course’s effectiveness and improve the next implementation. The general themes of the course, Introduction to Exploratory Learning in Mathematics, are teaching methods that promote active learning and exploratory learning environments. The course consists of one-day, on-site training and is aimed at elementary, middle and high school mathematics teachers. It is the first part of a larger CPD unit. We were especially motivated by the recent study of Stylianides & Stylianides (The Journal of Mathematical Behavior, 33 (1), 8–29) who proposed that even a very short intervention can impact positively on mathematical problem solving (attitudes) in initial elementary teacher training. Our main research question is thus to replicate and expand on their study: Can we impact positively on in-service teachers’ mathematical thinking over the course of a one-day seminar? In this article we describe the goals and implementation of our one-day course, some observations made during the implementations and conclusions. We replicate the findings of Stylianides and Stylianides (2014) that their “blond hair problem” makes a great impression on the participants. However, we found that the intervention did not have a substantial effect, at least in the short term, on what were considered good problems to use in an exploratory setting.