Overview of the Maryland Collaborative for Teacher Preparation
and the Research Group
[Return to MCTP Research Page]
The Maryland Collaborative for Teacher Preparation (MCTP) is a National
Science Foundation funded statewide undergraduate program for students who
plan to become specialist mathematics and science upper elementary or middle
level teachers. The goal of the MCTP is to promote the development of teachers
who are confident teaching mathematics and science, and who can provide
an exciting and challenging learning environment for students of diverse
The purpose of this report is to orient the reader to the Maryland Collaborative
for Teacher Preparation and to give an overview of the on-going research
activities being conducted within the project. Interested readers who desire
additional information are encouraged to conduct the MCTP Co-Directors of
Research: J. Randy McGinnis, email@example.com, (301) 405-6234 and Tad
Watanabe, Tad@midget.towson.edu, (410) 830-3585.History of the MCTP
The National Science Foundation selected Maryland in 1993 as one
of the first three states awarded Collaborative Teacher Preparation Grants
(spread out over a five-year period) to develop and implement an interdisciplinary
program for intending elementary and middle school teachers to become science/mathematics
specialists. Higher education institutions involved in this grant include
a number of University of Maryland institutions. Public school districts
involved include Baltimore County and Prince George's County. The project
management team consists of Jim Fey, Project Director, Co-Principal DirectorsGenevieve
Knight, Tom O'Haver, and John Layman, and Executive Director Susan Boyer.
Various committees working on the MCTP include the Content Teaching Committee,
the Pedagogical Committee, and the Research Group. These committees are
charged with developing and researching new college-level content and methods
courses for recruited teacher candidates who started in the program in the
fall of 1994.
The MCTP is based on the following framework:
* Specially designed courses in science and mathematics, taught by instructors
committed to a hands-on, minds-on interdisciplinary approach.
* Internship experiences with research opportunities in business, industrial
and scientific settings, and with teaching activities in science centers,
zoos, and other institutions.
* Field experiences and student teaching situations with mentors devoted
to the interdisciplinary approach to mathematics and science.
* Modern technologies as standard tools for planning and assessment, classroom
and laboratory work, problem-solving and research
* Placement assistance and sustained support during the induction year in
the teaching profession
* Financial support for qualified students.
What is the history and leadership of the Research Group?
In late July 1994, Fey, MCTP Project Director, asked J. Randy McGinnis (Science
Educator), University of Maryland at College Park (UMCP), andTad Watanabe
(Mathematics Educator), Towson State University (TSU), to share the leadership
of a Research Component of the MCTP. Anna Graeber, University of Maryland
at College Park, and Co-Director of the MCTP Methods Group, agreed to act
as a mentor to the Research Group. Amy Roth-McDuffie, Mary Ann Huntley,
Karen King andSteve Kramer, doctoral mathematics education students at UMCP,
have served as graduate research assistants to the Research Group. Gilli
Shama, a visiting Israeli mathematics educator, also joined the Research
Group in the fall, 1995.
Who constitutes the Research Group?
The leadership of the Research Group identified and recruited Institutional
Research Representatives (IRR) who would coordinate research efforts at
the participating institutions offering MCTP courses. The individuals who
took on this responsibility are Dr. Renny Azzi, Frostburg State University,
Dr. Delores Harvey, Coppin State College, Dr. Joan Langdon, Bowie State
University, and Dr. Gerry Rossi, Salisbury State University. Dr. Randy McGinnis
and Dr. Tad Watanabe also took on this responsibility for their institutions,
What is the purpose of MCTP research?
In essence, the primary purpose of research in the MCTP is directed
at knowledge growth in undergraduate mathematics and science teacher education.
The unique elements of the MCTP (particularly the instruction of mathematical
and scientific concepts and reasoning methods in undergraduate content and
methods courses that model the practice of active, interdisciplinary teaching)
are being longitudinally documented and interpreted from two foci: the faculty
and the teacher candidate perspectives.
What are the guiding research questions addressed in the MCTP research?
The following questions serve as the a priori research questions
(a posteriori questions will emerge throughout the research period):
1. What is the nature of the faculty and teacher candidates' beliefs and
attitudes concerning the nature of mathematics and science, the interdisciplinary
teaching and learning of mathematics and science to diverse groups (both
on the higher education and upper elementary and middle level), and the
use of technology in teaching and learning mathematics and science?
2. Do the faculty and teacher candidates perceive the instruction in the
MCTP as responsive to prior knowledge, addressing conceptual change, establishing
connections among disciplines, incorporating technology, promoting reflection
on changes in thinking, stressing logic and fundamental principles as opposed
to memorization of unconnected facts, and modeling the kind of teaching/learning
they would like to see on the upper elementary, middle level?
Answers to those questions will address the following global research questions
driving teacher education research:
1. How do teacher candidates construct the various facets of their knowledge
2. What nature of teacher knowledge is requisite for effective teaching
in a variety of contexts?
3. What specific analogies, metaphors, pitfalls, examples, demonstrations,
and anecdotes should be taught content/method professors so that teacher
candidates have some knowledge to associate with specific content topics?
What data are being collected for MCTP research?
Both numerical and qualitative data are being collected to address
the MCTP research questions. Numerical data derive from the administration
of two Likkert-type surveys developed by the MCTP Research Group: a college
student version and a faculty version of "Attitudes and Beliefs About
The Nature Of And The Teaching Of Mathematics And Science". Participating
faculty and students in MCTP classes (both MCTP teacher candidates and non-MCTP
students) contribute to this data base. Data are analyzed using the software
Qualitative data derive from semi-structured ongoing interviews with participants
in MCTP classes, MCTP class observations, participant journals, and MCTP
course materials. Standard qualitative analysis techniques (analytic induction,
constant comparison, and discourse analysis) assist in the interpretation
and presentation of case studies emerging from this rich data set. The software
program NUD.IST. facilitates the data analysis.