** A request for shared thoughts, stories, suggestions, etc. for master's thesis research:
I am a pre-service teacher currently working on my Master's thesis (and looking for a job!). The focus of my thesis is exploring the difficulties and tensions that teachers (especially new ones) face in trying to shape their instructional practices around the vision of the Professional Teaching Standards. In my student teaching (at the HS level), I found that it was extremely difficult to teach in a way radically different from the way that I was taught. I often felt that my instruction fell out somewhere half-way between traditional and reform practices; and while this may seem natural, I often felt that the kids ended up with some kind of mush, not reaping the full benefits of either approach. My goal then, is to identify more clearly what exactly the tension are that we face in developing classroom environments where we engage kids in meaningful tasks & discourse, and hopefully suggest some ways that we can ease those tensions (especially for those of us just beginning).
The literature (especially articles in the Mathematics Teacher's *Implementing the Teaching Standards* series and the work of Deborah Ball @ MI State) has been helpful here, identifying several sources of tension which include: perspectives on the nature of math, teaching for conepts vs. procedures, lack of time/competing responsiblities, dificulty in developing meaningful tasks, etc.
But I would really like to hear more from you (particularly practicing teachers). I would value tremendously any stories, vignettes, insights, or suggestions that you could offer regarding the tensions and dilemmas that you face or have faced in trying to implement the Teaching Standards. You can send responses directly to me if you don't think they would benefit the list. I will assume that unless you specifically say otherwise, I will be able to use your responses in my project.
I thank you in advance for any responses you offer!
Tim Herron <firstname.lastname@example.org> Masters of Arts In Teaching Student University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA