Teachers Learning to Facilitate Communication and Reasoning Through Inquiry With History and Social Science Sources

Funding Agency: James S. McDonnell Foundation

Period: 1/1/2018 - 12/31/2022

Name: Chauncey Monte-Sano, Mary Schleppegrell

Tags: monte-sano, schleppegrell

Chauncey Monte-Sano’s team will study teachers’ learning as they implement an inquiry-oriented social studies curriculum that supports middle school students’ growth in reasoning through talk and writing with sources in two contexts. Such Inquiry Teaching (IT) calls for complex modes of communication and challenging instructional practices that differ from norms. The researchers use a cognitive science perspective to understand what knowledge, beliefs, attitudes, and skills are associated with teachers’ uptake of core instructional practices that support students’ communication and argument writing.

Over five years, they will design and refine professional development based on conjectures about salient features of the learning environment and how those function to support teacher learning in context. They will develop and validate measures of teacher thinking and classroom enactment, pilot these with 30 teachers, and then study 20 teachers over three years in a new context. In both sites the team will study a representative group of 6-8 teachers as they learn to enact social studies IT. They hypothesize that teachers’ uptake of IT is guided by their metacognitive thinking about the disciplinary tasks, how their diverse students engage with the tasks, and how their instruction can support students, as well as their skills in doing disciplinary work and enacting instructional practices. They will explore teachers’ thinking, how it relates to enactment of core practices, and how their thinking and instructional practices change over time as they engage in cycles of professional development and enactment. This will enable the team to create and share robust models of professional development with the social studies community.

The research team is composed of 11 members:

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