Zooming out: discussing the research approach Design Research

Table of Contents:

Although Design Research with teachers on the student level is an excellent setting for professionalizing some teachers, this chapter pleads for extending the approach for reaching many teachers. In the presented approach, design experiments take place in PD sessions, not in classrooms alone. PD Design Research adds to usual PD programme development a much more intense, video-based analysis of teachers’ professionalization pathways during and between the PD sessions, by own teaching experiments and their video-based reflection in small groups. The reconstruction of teachers’ individual professionalization pathways allows gaining profound insights into the structure of the PD content: in our case, the process perspective had to be split for understanding teachers’ pathways (cf. the perspective model in Figure 9.5).

As with every investigation of individual learning pathways, such an analysis always has the risk of being deficit-focused as the intended goal is not reached, devaluing the perspective of the learning teachers. In order to avoid this, the teachers’ perspectives as well as their inner logic and rationalization has to be systematically taken into account. The research goal has to be the search for a synthesis between teachers’ and intended perspectives which leads to overcoming the risk of deficit orientation (Prediger et al., 2015b). In our case, we had to accept the process-coping perspective as a natural and important perspective for in-service teachers which should coexist with the potential-enhancing perspective.

The methodological control of the interpretative data analysis procedures is paramount for achieving profound empirical results. This means respecting the quality criteria of transparency, intersubjectivity and openness for phenomena outside the theoretical input. However, quality criteria in Design Research go beyond these classical methodological criteria, as they also comprise relevance and practicability of the design, generalizability of the results by accumulating over several projects and ecological validity of the complete setting (Cobb et al., 2003). For the concrete project, the generalizability of the research results is not yet achieved since the process is only at the beginning. However, its preliminary results are encouraging to pursue this aim.

Funding information

DoMath was originally funded by the Dortmund Stiftung (grant to S. Prediger). We thank the foundation as well as the participating schools and classes and our colleagues and research students for the collaboration. The research is conducted within the DZLM, the German Center for Mathematics Teacher Education (funded by the German Telekom Foundation, grant to S. Prediger).


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