Working Group: System Change (including Teacher Development)

Chair: Chris Schunn

The following papers provide the background for the work of this group. Please bear in mind that some of the these papers are informal, or represent work-in-progress. To enable the working group sessions to focus on discussing these and other issues in relation to the conference themes, we suggest that delegates familiarize themsleves with the papers before the session.

The papers described in these abstracts can be downloaded from http://www.isdde.org/cairns/wg3.htm

The role of key teachers in PMRI dissemination

Sutarto Hadi, Maarten Dolk, Ellen Zonneveld

The demand for PMRI (Indonesian adaptation of realistic mathematics education) implementation in primary schools is high. The capacity of TEC (Teacher Education College) to support the implementation is limited. How to cope with the limited number of faculties staff is an important issue in the PMRI movement. This is the small history of how the role of key teachers was born. A key teacher is a highly motivated teacher who is a role model in the school if it comes to PMRI. A key teacher helps his/her colleagues in designing PMRI lessons, a key teacher is supportive, is teaching together with his/her colleagus, can observe lessons and give feedback.

Teachers have a forum where they can meet regularly, that is called KKG: Kelompok Kerja Guru (literaly translated: teacher working group). This paper describes how teachers developed into the role of key teachers, what their role in the movement means, how key teachers work together with their KKG forum as a vehicle to disseminate PMRI in their own school.

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System change: Engineering a lever for changing the teaching of science

Christian Schunn
Learning Research and Development Center University of Pittsburgh, USA

The elementary and secondary science instructional systems in the US are fundamentally broken: most teachers of elementary science and many teachers of secondary science have a weak mastery of the content they are teaching and do not use effective reform pedagogy; US students spend less classroom time on science than students in many other countries; most US textbooks used for science instruction bore the students or confuse the teachers; most US students (and parents) do not value science as an epistemology or career; and most US school districts have low quality and ineffectual professional development communities in science.

There is hope for the designer to instrument long-lasting and meaningful change by using a systems perspective to the design task and incrementally building change from that perspective. This paper outlines this methodology and presents an example from secondary science, based on my work with a wide variety of large urban school districts in the US, trying to produce significant improvements in student learning across the large districts.

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