Bridging uses innovative methods to “bridge the gap” between professional development and classroom practice to help teachers develop and use skills that support students in doing mathematical argumentation—one of the Common Core practice standards.
Bridging has a dual focus on content knowledge and teaching practices, brought together with curriculum and software. Curriculum and specially designed software provide a basis from which teachers learn content at a deeper level than is required for their students. Teaching practices are supported by the curriculum, which provides opportunities for argumentation through the types of problems and prompts presented.
Bridging’s PD methods are based on improvisational theater, and are used with both teachers and students to develop productive norms for high-quality argumentation. Teachers use specially designed “teaching games” to help them uncover and practice using targeted teaching moves.
Bridging is designed to fit in with the amounts of PD that districts can offer to their teachers. We have done our PD as a two-week institute, as an eight-day workshop, and even as a four-day workshop.
Bridging research began with a study of teachers and their classrooms and has continued to include students’ learning. This research has shown that teachers in a treatment group supported almost twice as much argumentation in their classrooms than a control group did. In our next study, we included students in four classrooms. Substantial learning gains were seen; on average students gained 10.31 points out of 36 from pre-test to post-test.