On behalf of all the members of our project entitled, "Integrating Generic and Domain-Specific Factors in Exploring the Association between the Quality of Instruction and Student Learning," I would like to welcome you to our project's website.
There is wide consensus that teaching is a particularly complex phenomenon. As such, it requires that multiple foci and lenses be employed to better parse the work of teaching to its constituent components and through that start understanding their quality. For years, however, scholars seem to have worked in parallel, focusing on either generic or domain-specific aspects of instruction. By generic aspects of instruction, we refer to teacher behaviors that are important for student learning and which cut across different subject matters. Regardless of whether teaching a history or a mathematics or even a Physical Education lesson, a teacher needs to pose good questions to activate students' thinking; similarly, the teacher needs to create a productive classroom climate that welcomes and celebrates students' effort and errors, since the latter are fundamental to the process of learning. A parallel strand of research, fueled by several scholars' plea (e.g., Shulman, 1986) to attend to the subject-matter itself and the requirements that different disciplines impose on teachers, attends to domain or content-specific teaching elements. These are either unique to teaching specific content areas or have a particular functioning and specialized manifestations when occurring in the teaching of these areas.
Sponsored by the University of Cyprus through an internal grant, this two-year project aims at working at the intersection of these two types of practices, aspiring to help us understand the unique and joint contribution of generic and domain-specific practices in explaining student learning. It does so by focusing on two remarkably different subject matters: Mathematics and Physical Education. By selecting these two subject matters that differ not only in the content covered, but also in many other respects, including their learning goals (conceptual vs. psychomotor), the physical space in which they are conducted (indoors vs. outdoors), and the instructional practices that are critical for student learning, the project seeks to not only examine the contribution of the two types of practices, but to also investigate commonalities and differences in this contribution across different subject matters. Needless to say that the project will not have been feasible to take place without the support of the teachers who volunteered to participate, whom we would like to thank for opening their classrooms and letting us in. In doing so these teachers made their own contribution toward studying and understand the complex work of teaching and its intricacies.
Our website is systematically updated and anyone interested in our work will have the opportunity to be informed about the activities and the results of the project at each of its phases. Scholars and policymakers interested in our work can also contact us directly.
I would like to invite you to browse our website to get a better sense of our project's activities. Should you have any questions about the project or if you have any feedback for its rationale, activities, presentations, and publications, please do not hesitate to contact us.
The project coordinator
Dr. Charalambos Y. Charalambous
Assistant Professor, Educational Research and Evaluation