VIDEO-LM (Viewing, Investigating and Discussing Environments of Learning Mathematics), or in its Hebrew acronym ADASHA, was launched on June 2012. The project’s over-arching goal is to improve mathematics teaching at all levels, with particular emphasis on the higher tracks in secondary schools, through enhancing the reflective skills of mathematics teachers. The means to achieve this goal is by creating a pool of videotaped mathematics lessons (mainly from Israel, with some lessons from other countries as well), that serve as a basis for guided discussions with teachers. The project team has developed a unique framework for analyzing videotaped lessons for the purpose of collaborative investigations. This framework directs teachers, while (and after) watching the lesson on the screen, to consider the following components: (1) the mathematical and meta-mathematical ideas around the topic of the lesson, and those explicitly raised during the lesson; (2) explicit and implicit goals that may be ascribed to the teacher; (3) beliefs about mathematics and the teaching and learning of mathematics as reflected in the teachers’ actions; (4) dilemmas encountered by the teacher during the lesson, the ensuing decisions taken in order to resolve them, and their consequent tradeoffs; (5) the type of mathematical tasks selected by the teacher, the questions posed around these tasks and the way in which these reflect the mathematical ideas and the teacher’s goals; and (6) the teachers’ interactions with students throughout the lesson.

The underlying working assumption is that teachers, watching and discussing “remote” teaching events in a safe and supportive atmosphere (i.e., one which does not focus on evaluative or judgmental feedbacks), will eventually enhance their self-inspective abilities and their awareness to their own teaching decisions. Moreover, there is initial evidence that after a deep and ongoing process, teachers may become motivated to film themselves while teaching and share these videos with colleagues for the purpose of reflecting on their practice. The main way of reaching out to practicing teachers, is through face-to-face courses in which collaborative discussions around videotaped lessons are conducted. A wider group of teachers would be able to engage in e-learning through a website (currently under construction) which will contain a dynamic collection of all videotaped lessons, along with suggested instructions for watching each video. A pilot course for lead-teachers was conducted during the 2012-13 school year, followed by a summer course for math school coordinators. The number of courses is expected to increase in the future by way of training local instructors who will establish communities of mathematics teachers working regularly in “video clubs” environments.

Link to project website