About Our Project



We are trying to learn what impact this professional development has on actual classrooms. In order to study this, we are looking for teachers from partnered districts to attend the Elementary Mathematics Laboratory (EML) for five full-days with focused professional development on leading a whole class discussion.

What is the Elementary Mathematics Laboratory?

The EML is taught by Deborah Loewenberg Ball, an experienced elementary school teacher, a William H. Payne Collegiate Professor at the University of Michigan School of Education, and the director of TeachingWorks. The class enrolls up to 30 upper elementary students, who are diverse ethnically, racially, economically, and linguistically. The instruction in the EML seeks to support students and to set them on a path to success in school mathematics and is specially designed to develop strong and positive academic identities in our students.

Over the past decade, Dr. Ball has developed skills of teaching in public that enable observers to analyze teaching. This public teaching is the centerpiece of the EML professional development program. Workshop attendees start each day with Dr. Ball and the instructional team in a “pre-brief” session before the class, in which they examine, discuss, and refine the day’s lesson plans and strategies for the instruction.  Attendees then observe the instruction in the classroom or remote viewing rooms. The group gathers after the class with Dr. Ball to debrief the class, ask questions, and review daily student work before attending afternoon workshops.

Past attendees have remarked that the laboratory class and associated professional development workshops have “transformed the way they analyze (their own) teaching” and “have empowered their work as a teacher and renewed their enthusiasm for the classroom.”