Teachers as Problem Solvers: An Educational Design Research Approach for Teaching and Learning Through Problem Solving
The purpose of this qualitative educational design research (EDR) study was to understand how a professional learning model, Teachers as Problem Solvers (TAPS), cultivated a group of third-grade teachers' development in learning and teaching mathematics through problem solving. The study investigated teacher learning through ongoing practice, in the context of the same school and grade, and identified supporting elements of the proposed design. Three iterations were conducted using a combination of qualitative analytical coding procedures, concept maps, and diagrams to examine the teachers' transcribed group sessions, interviews, journals, and work sample artifacts. The results suggest that participation in TAPS fostered teachers' mathematical content and pedagogical knowledge, stimulated teachers' shifts in thinking about teaching and learning through problem solving, and supported changes in practice through collaborative efforts for more student-led instruction. The model's flexible and continuous structure, capacity to support tool creation, a learners first approach, and the facilitator's role were essential design features that sustained the teachers' development in teaching and learning through problem solving. Additionally, the study's application of the EDR process yielded a refined model and a set of practical instructional tools.