Targeted professional development to enhance content specific workgroups

The promise that traditional professional development from an outside expert would improve the instructional practices of all mathematics teachers has not been realized in many school districts. To fix the problem some districts have turned to content-specific collaborative workgroups that use a lesson study protocol. The collaborative model assumes that teachers are proficient in their subject area. This assumption was not true for the elementary school teachers' in the study. This study provided a targeted professional development (TPD), specific to the needs of a group of fifth and sixth grade teachers that increased teachers' mathematical knowledge for teaching (MKT) and impacted their instructional practices in their classroom. The five teacher case studies and one workgroup study provided the data for analyzing the growth of the participants. The findings suggested that the MKT of all of the teachers was increased and the instructional practices of some of the participants were impacted. The increased MKT developed in the TPD appeared to enhance the discussions within the workgroup sessions.