Supporting the Development of Teachers' Attributes Needed for the Selection and Implementation of Cognitively Demanding Tasks through Engagement with the MathTwitterBlogosphere
Type of DegreePhD Dissertation
DepartmentCurriculum and Teaching
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The purpose of this study was to determine if and how engagement with an online community supports the development of three attributes identified by Wilhelm (2014) that teachers need to have in order to consistently select and implement cognitively demanding tasks, including mathematical knowledge for teaching, visions of high quality mathematics instruction, and views for supporting struggling students (Wilhelm, 2014). A qualitative case study was undertaken of the MathTwitterBlogosphere (MTBoS), an online community of mathematics educators primarily hosted within Twitter and the blogosphere. A qualitative content analysis was used to better understand the community’s content across Twitter and the blogosphere, while a qualitative interview analysis was used to understand the perceptions of five representative community members regarding the support they received from engaging with the community. The teacher attribute of visions of high quality mathematics instruction was most frequently addressed within community interactions, followed by mathematical knowledge for teaching; views for supporting struggling students was only addressed in about 3% of the community content. Likewise, a majority of the community members interviewed perceived the MTBoS to have strengthened their mathematical knowledge for teaching and visions of high quality mathematics instruction but less so their ability to support struggling students’ learning of mathematics. Thus, the MathTwitterBlogosphere community is a promising avenue for providing support to teachers in selecting and implementing cognitively demanding tasks, although it may provide less support for engaging struggling students.