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An investigation of mathematics teachers' documentation expertise and its development in collectives : two contrasting cases in China and France

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Abstract

In a time of fast technology development and frequent curriculum reform, the abundance of instructional resources brings teachers both chances and new complexity. This study aims at exploring mathematics teachers’ expertise required for, and developed in, interacting collectively with resources. Since expertise is contextualized, this research is designed as case study in two contrasting contexts (China and France). Based on Documentational Approach to Didactics and Cultural-historical Activity Theory, the study proposes a framework of mathematics teachers’ expertise interacting with resources, which is named as Documentation Expertise (DE). Efforts are made in two steps: a first DE framework based on literature review and pilot study, a refined framework after two contrasting cases analysis. Three questions are explored: How to define DE? How is DE developed through collective work? What can be learnt for developing DE through the two cases? The study is based on a methodology of reflective investigation, and adapts tools of interviews, observation and video analysis.It proposes some main results: (1) DE is evidenced from (i) a static dimension on resource system’s structure and components, DE develops in deliberately keeping the resource system lived by bridging resource design with considerations on didactics, curriculum and students; (ii) a dynamic dimension on schemes in resource system maintenance and documentation work, DE develops in integrating the resources with a broad view in searching, critical attitude in selecting, flexible way in adapting, and automatically habit in accumulating. (2) Collective work benefits DE development, especially collective lesson design, where resources and the schemes of usage are discussed concerning specific situations. (3) Implications are drawn concerning institutional construction of teacher collective work (Chinese case), and high-quality online-resources (French case).

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