Affordances, Constraints, and Mediating Aspects of Elementary Mathematics Lesson Planning Practices and Lesson Plan Actualization
AuthorAmador, Julie Marie
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The purpose of this research is to add to the theory on lesson planning in mathematics by describing the affordances, constraints, and meditational aspects of how teachers plan elementary mathematics lessons and how lesson plans actualize during the teaching process. Case studies (Yin, 2009) of four fourth grade elementary school teachers were conducted and data were collected through written documents, interviews, videotapes of teaching, and photographs of artifacts used during teaching. The data were analyzed and coded using a grounded theory approach (Corbin & Strauss, 2008). Results indicated that standardized testing influenced the lesson planning process by mediating curricula use, teacher collaboration, and other lesson planning elements. This resulted in a focus on skills and algorithms, as opposed to teaching for conceptual understanding. Analysis of lesson plan actualization indicated teachers were following their lesson plans as they taught, with only minor adjustments. Therefore, teacher support personnel should provide professional development opportunities to assist teachers to plan conceptually based lessons with elements of effective teaching to improve student understanding, which would help students perform well on examinations. Similarly, teacher education programs should prepare pre-service teachers to write lesson plans that include elements of effective teaching and help pre-service teachers understand the affordances and constraints that exist in educational contexts.