Collaborative planning for an elementary mathematics methods course in a third space: The role of expertise in a community of practice

Open Access
Lynch, Courtney Marie
Graduate Program:
Curriculum and Instruction
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
May 02, 2017
Committee Members:
  • Gwendolyn Monica Lloyd, Dissertation Advisor
  • Gwendolyn Monica Lloyd, Committee Chair
  • Edith Frances Arbaugh, Committee Member
  • Andrea Vujan Mccloskey, Committee Member
  • David Alexander Gamson, Outside Member
  • collaborative planning
  • third spaces
  • teacher education
  • mathematics teacher education
  • professional development school
  • boundary objects
  • communities of practice
  • co-planning
  • teacher educator expertise
  • elementary mathematics methods
This study examines the collaborative planning of a team of school- and university-based teacher educators who co-taught an elementary mathematics methods course in a grades K-4 Professional Development School (PDS). The PDS spans the boundaries between the school and university creating a third space for hybrid teacher educators (Martin, Snow, & Franklin Torrez, 2011). The team of four hybrid teacher educators formed a Methods Planning Community of Practice (MPCoP). This study focused on the MPCoP’s collaborative planning of elementary mathematics methods courses to prepare beginning teachers to select and adapt mathematical tasks. I conducted a domain analysis (Spradley, 1979) to identify and describe the MPCoP’s general co-planning activities (establishing goals, general brainstorming, and determining instructional details). Using the construct of boundary objects (Star, 1989) and theoretical perspectives from communities of practice (Wenger, 1998), I examined areas of expertise that influenced the MPCoP’s joint enterprise. Data was collected during Fall 2015 and consisted of audio recordings of four of the MPCoP’s co-planning sessions (80-85 minutes each), researcher notes, the MPCoP’s planning documents, individual background interviews, 16 semi-structured interviews (4 with each teacher educator), 2 semi-structured group interviews, and artifacts from the interviews. The MPCoP, operating without a guiding protocol, spent the majority of its time determining the instructional details for methods course experiences. Results indicate that shared areas of professional expertise explicitly influenced the group’s work. Other areas of professional expertise were individually influential yet not explicitly shared during the MPCoP’s joint enterprise. The results of this study extend understandings about the integration of academic and practitioner knowledge in third spaces.