Teaching mathematics in a time of change : the role of collectives and resources for developing teacher expertise


Title: Teaching mathematics in a time of change : the role of collectives and resources for developing teacher expertise
Directors: Luc TROUCHE & XU Binyan
Discipline: Education Sciences
Status: Developing Project
Starting date: 015/2013. This project is the continuation of the project French-Chinese Lab for Comparing Curricula in Science Education (C2SE), incubated at JoRISS from 2013 to 2015 under the direction of PEI Xinning, XU Binyan, Maryline COQUIDE & Luc TROUCHE.




Teaching mathematics in a time of change: the role of collectives and resources for developing teacher expertise. The CORE-M project (COllective, REsources, Mathematics)

This project constitutes a follow-up of the C2SE project, which was dedicated to curriculum and science education. Focusing on mathematics education, it is chaired by B. Xu and L. Trouche, and involves Birgit Pepin (University of Eindhoven, Netherlands) and Chongyang Wang, PhD student supervised by B. Xu and L. Trouche. G. Gueudet (University of Brittany) stands as an external advisor.

As Chinese students have achieved impressive results in most large-scale international studies in mathematics, such PISA, much attention has recently been drawn to Chinese mathematics teaching, exploring various perspectives, such as school organizations or mathematics curricula. Amongst the factors that may contribute to Chinese students’ excellent achievements, expertise in mathematics instruction was described as one of the most significant factors. As such, the question of developing teacher expertise becomes a crucial and essential question.

Developing teacher expertise has also become a crucial question for sustainable professional development, especially with huge changes and influence of technology. Digital technologies provide teachers with new platforms and resources, but also challenge their abilities of using them and dealing with massive information, which have enormous influence on their documentation work (Gueudet, Pepin & Trouche 2012). In recent years, the collective work of teachers, or teacher collaboration, has become an important dimension for developing teacher expertise.

The three partners of the project have a large experience in this field:

  • ECNU Institute of Curriculum and Instruction contributed to the national curriculum reform in China since 2000 and is chairing several national projects about assessment of mathematics, science competences, or teacher’s professional development (specially through Teaching research groups). B. Xu is the project chair of assessing mathematics competencies.
  • For the ENS French Institute for Education (IFE) the issues of mathematics education constitute an important field of research, as well as teachers’ collective work. Luc Trouche is the president of the French Commission for Mathematics Teaching (CFEM http://www.cfem.asso.fr/).
  • The School of Education at TU/e is very supportive of international initiatives in the field of STEM instruction, curriculum, and innovative curriculum materials (such as e-textbooks). Prof. Pepin has expertise in international comparative studies in mathematics education.


Looking at teachers’ professional development through the ‘lens’ of resources and collectives appears as a productive way for comparing national situations and that is the purpose of the project. Teachers’ resource systems are constantly changing: teachers adding new resources, modifying older or even deleting some. The work of teachers on resources, their selections and transformations, is a feature of a teacher’s educational freedom and essential for the quality of his/her teaching. Their analysis is a major issue for understanding the education system and its evolution.

The following research questions will be developed though the CORE-M project:

  • What are the main curriculum resources for teaching used by expert mathematics teachers?
  • How are these resources used and chaired by mathematics teachers?
  • How the collective teachers work acts for supporting mathematics teachers development?


The CORE-M project has a strong connection with the French project ANR ReVEA (http://anr-revea.fr, 2014-2018), analysing teacher resources in Mathematics, Physics, English and Technology, particularly linked to teacher collectives. The Chongyang Wang’ thesis (Tracing Teaching Resources of Expert Teachers: a Comparative Study on Mathematics Teachers Documentation Works in China and France) will strongly contributes to the project. A common paper (Pepin-Trouche-Xu-Wang) Expert teachers in China: developing an understanding of their resource systems and collective work, in progress, may be considered as a first step for developing the CORE-M project. A new PhD project, supervised by Binyan Xu and Sophie Soury-Lavergne, submitted to the CSC could reinforce the project in September 2015.

Gueudet, G., Pepin, B., & Trouche, L. (Eds.) (2012). From Text to ‘Lived’ Resources: Mathematics Curriculum Materials and Teacher Development. Springer: New York.