Beatty Feldman - NARST 2009

Illuminating teacher change and professional development with CHAT
In the Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST), Garden Grove CA, Apr 20.

Beatty, Ian D. and Feldman, Allan

Technology-Enhanced Formative Assessment (TEFA) is an innovative pedagogy for science and mathematics instruction. Teacher Learning of TEFA is a research project studying teacher change as in-service secondary science and mathematics teachers learn TEFA in the context of a multi-year professional development (PD) program. Applying cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT) to the linked activity systems of PD and teachers’ classroom practice leads to a model of teacher learning and pedagogical change in which TEFA is first introduced into classrooms as an object of activity, and then made useful as a tool for instruction, and then—in rare cases—incorporated into all elements of a deeply transformed practice. Different levels of contradiction within and between activity systems drive the transitions between stages. CHAT analysis also suggests that the primary contradiction within secondary education is a dual view of students as objects of instruction versus students as willful individuals; the difficulties arising from this contradiction can either inhibit or motivate TEFA adoption.