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Apr 19 2024

Speaker Series: Dr. Hannah Sevian

Speaker Series

April 19, 2024

1:00 PM - 2:30 PM


1535 SSB


1240 West Harrison, Suite 1535, Chicago, IL 60607

*hosted in collaboration with the UIC Chemistry Education Program


Dr. Hannah Sevian - Chemistry Education, UMass Boston


Modalities of Expert Chemistry Teachers’ “Leading from the Classroom” in Peer-Led Professional Development


Expert teachers’ leadership of professional development for their peers can contribute immense benefits in strengthening the teaching practices of less experienced teachers, while also providing job satisfaction for and increased retention of the expert teachers as outcomes. Yet, expert teachers remain an untapped resource in many educational systems. Within a long-term urban university-school district partnership, our research team (consisting of two expert chemistry teachers, two chemistry graduate students, and me) studied the peer teacher leadership of five other expert chemistry teachers who co-designed and led a professional development program that included nine four-hour sessions across a year. The program focused on developing the participating teachers’ formative assessment (FA) practices in chemistry in three layers with corresponding academic models: (1) domain-general professional noticing at the decision level of classroom teaching moves, (2) discipline-specific noticing using chemical thinking to frame implicit assumptions students rely on as they reason and solve problems that chemistry uniquely addresses, and (3) teaching dilemmas that arise from contradictions that are pedagogical, conceptual, cultural, or political, and which serve as sources of growth as teachers develop more powerful teaching practices. We identified and analyzed 56 key moments of facilitation during the videos, in which the expert teachers intentionally developed the participating teachers’ FA practices. Building on models that have emerged through studying teacher leadership through various historical waves of clarifying what the goals of teacher leadership are, we characterized four leadership modalities as ways that the expert teachers in our study relied on their expertise as classroom teachers as they led their peers in professional learning: Effective Practitioner (application of strong classroom facilitation and presentation skills), Guide (connecting the professional development activities to classroom applications), Learning Partner (positioning oneself to learn alongside a participant), and Scholar (illuminating the meaning of an academic model). In this presentation, I will share this characterization of how expert teachers “lead from the classroom” and invite seminar participants to join in considering how “transformational teacher leadership” (Pounder, 2006) can occur when expert teachers tap their capacities to transform their own expertise toward advancing their peers’ growth in teaching practices.



Andrew Krzak

Date posted

Jan 22, 2024

Date updated

Apr 7, 2024