Presenter Information

Mona Baniahmadi

Advisor: Amy M. Olson, Ph.D.

Department of Educational Foundation & Leadership

Duquesne University

Abstract

Education policy and standards strive for more coherent curricula because “a coherent, well- articulated curriculum is an essential tool for guiding teacher collaboration, goal-setting, analysis of student thinking, and implementation” and students learn better when “connections are made from one year to the next, from one idea to another, from one representation to another” (NCTM, 2016, p. 1). This suggests teachers must work to make connections across topics, practices, representations, and strategies.

Vertical coherence occurs when teachers who teach the same course collaborate across grade level. In contrast, a curriculum that is horizontally coherent occurs when teachers at the same grade level collaborate to align their learning activities, instruction, and assessments (The Glossary of Education Reform, 2014). Both assume teachers should collaborate with their colleagues to develop a high-quality, coherent curriculum (Chalk, 2020). Yet teachers today are inundated with diverse curricular resources that may not be well connected vertically or horizontally.

In this study we surveyed 524 public elementary mathematics teachers about their curriculum use and the resources they used to ensure a more coherent curriculum. Results indicate that prior to Covid-19 teachers relied on curriculum resources, standards, and other online materials to make connections vertically and horizontally. Fewer teachers mentioned they collaborated with other teachers, and collaboration mostly occurred across grades levels. But during Covid-19 and the switch to remote instruction, teachers reported could not use the same strategies to build coherent connections. They instead relied more heavily on each other and collaboration with their colleagues to design a coherent curriculum. In such an unprecedented and socially isolated time it was a surprise to find an increase in teacher collaboration. It is also evident from the data that many teachers were thinking of how they can best support each other during remote teaching through their learned experiences.

School

School of Education

Advisor

Dr. Amy M Olson

Submission Type

Paper

Share

COinS
 

TEACHER COLLABORATIONS TO CREATE CURRICULAR COHERENCE: SHIFTS DURING COVID-19

Education policy and standards strive for more coherent curricula because “a coherent, well- articulated curriculum is an essential tool for guiding teacher collaboration, goal-setting, analysis of student thinking, and implementation” and students learn better when “connections are made from one year to the next, from one idea to another, from one representation to another” (NCTM, 2016, p. 1). This suggests teachers must work to make connections across topics, practices, representations, and strategies.

Vertical coherence occurs when teachers who teach the same course collaborate across grade level. In contrast, a curriculum that is horizontally coherent occurs when teachers at the same grade level collaborate to align their learning activities, instruction, and assessments (The Glossary of Education Reform, 2014). Both assume teachers should collaborate with their colleagues to develop a high-quality, coherent curriculum (Chalk, 2020). Yet teachers today are inundated with diverse curricular resources that may not be well connected vertically or horizontally.

In this study we surveyed 524 public elementary mathematics teachers about their curriculum use and the resources they used to ensure a more coherent curriculum. Results indicate that prior to Covid-19 teachers relied on curriculum resources, standards, and other online materials to make connections vertically and horizontally. Fewer teachers mentioned they collaborated with other teachers, and collaboration mostly occurred across grades levels. But during Covid-19 and the switch to remote instruction, teachers reported could not use the same strategies to build coherent connections. They instead relied more heavily on each other and collaboration with their colleagues to design a coherent curriculum. In such an unprecedented and socially isolated time it was a surprise to find an increase in teacher collaboration. It is also evident from the data that many teachers were thinking of how they can best support each other during remote teaching through their learned experiences.