Aspects of the teacher-textbook relationship: What can we learn about teachers when they tag didactic metadata?

Shai Olsher, Jason Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While curricular change often begins with a new textbook, its eventual enactment in the hands of individual teachers depends on their orientation towards the curriculum and its representation in the textbook. Studying this teacher-textbook relationship is crucial for understanding how curricular reform intended by textbook designers is likely to be implemented in individual classrooms. We have been studying this by means of didactic tagging—a methodology where teachers assign metadata to textbook tasks. Categories of metadata include both descriptive aspects of tasks and aspects of their envisioned enactment. Prior research has focused on characteristics of the textbook that emerge as patterns in metadata that persist across multiple taggers. In the current study we turn our attention to individual differences across taggers. Four teachers tagged tasks that comprise an entire pre-calculus high school textbook. Analysis generated non-trivial findings regarding each tagger’s interaction with the textbook, in the form of individual patterns in the tagged metadata. These patterns allowed us to put forth tentative “profiles” of each of the four teachers’ interactions with the textbook. We propose this as a method for investigating and assessing teachers’ didactic orientations, and for predicting aspects of their enactment of textbook curricula, while avoiding time-consuming and intrusive observation of classroom teaching.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1347-1358
Number of pages12
JournalZDM - International Journal on Mathematics Education
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The work reported herein was supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Grant Number 12946-3. The authors wish to thank Dr. M. Adil Yal??n from Keshif LLC for his generous contribution to the development of the representation tools.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, FIZ Karlsruhe.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Mathematics


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