The public defence of Daniel Brehmer's doctoral thesis in Didactics

Doctoral thesis and Licentiate seminars

Datum: 2019-11-13
Tid: 13.15
Plats: Room Kappa, Mälardalen University Västerås

The public defence of Daniel Brehmers's doctoral thesis in Didactics will take place at Mälardalen University on November 13, 2019, at 13.15.

Title: Support for mathematics teachers’ change - Examining catalysts for teacher learning and role of the teacher in professional development programmes

Serial number:  298

The faculty examiner is Professor Martin Carlsen, University of Agder.
The examining committee consists of Docent Ewa Bergqvist, Umeå University,  Docent Wieland Wermke, Stockholms University and Docent Yvonne Liljekvist, Karlstad University.
Reserve is Professor Thomas Nolte, Mälardalen University.
National curricula changes through time. To establish and implement such changes into practice, teachers must be given the opportunity to change according to the new documents. For such change, they need support in interpreting and implementing the new curriculum. Typically, there are two common ways to support teacher change: (1) developing and launching curriculum materials that correspond to the national curriculum; and (2) implementing professional development programmes (PDPs) that correspond to the new national curriculum. This thesis includes both aspects and aims to contribute to research on support for mathematics teachers’ change. This aim is operationalized by: (1) studying mathematics textbooks in which tasks and plausible teaching intentions are analysed; (2) studying teacher agency in collegial discussions in relation to the design of a PDP; and (3) mapping and describing catalysts for teacher learning from PDPs in research literature. These studies resulted in five papers, which are included in this thesis. The main results of the papers cover: the distribution of types of tasks in Swedish mathematics textbooks; the type of learning approach advocated in these textbooks; how different types of texts in PDPs relate to teacher agency in collegial discussions; and an identification and description of catalysts for teacher learning from PDPs for mathematics teachers. In the kappa of this thesis, these results are merged and discussed in relation to different models of teacher change. The focus in the kappa is on examining catalysts for teacher learning from such initiatives and the role of the teacher in PDPs. This examination suggests elaborations on parts of a conceptual framework for effective PDPs (Desimone, 2009). More precisely, the elaborations concern core critical features for effective PDPs, presented in this framework: Content Focus, Active Learning, Collective Participation, Duration, and Coherence. The main contributions of this thesis concern: a tool for analysing tasks in textbooks with respect to problem-solving tasks; an organizing frame for mapping learning catalysts from articles describing PDPs; a description of catalysts for teacher learning from PDPs as specifications of core critical features for effective PDPs; and the role of the teacher in PDPs as a catalyst for learning.