Deborah Loewenberg Ball is Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of mathematics education and teacher education at the University of Michigan. Her work draws on her many years of experience as an elementary classroom teacher. Ball's work focuses on studies of instruction and of the processes of learning to teach. She also investigates efforts to improve teaching through policy, reform initiatives, and teacher education. Two research projects are the site for her current work.
With David Cohen and Brian Rowan, she is currently co-directing the Study of Instructional Improvement, a large longitudinal study of whole-school reforms designed to improve instruction and learning in reading/language arts and mathematics in high-poverty elementary schools. The research team is studying the course of three major whole-school reform programs in 100 schools over the next six years, tracing the interventions' efforts to make change, and the responses of school personnel, teachers, parents, and students.
Ball also directs the Mathematics Teaching and Learning to Teach Project. This research team, which includes Hyman Bass, a research mathematician, studies classroom teaching and analyzes the mathematical entailments of the work. This project also explores how records of practice (e.g., videotapes of classrooms, student work) can be used to support communication about teaching and learning among a wide range of stakeholders.
Ball's publications include articles on teacher learning and teacher education; the role of subject matter knowledge in teaching and learning to teach; endemic challenges of teaching; and the relations of policy and practice in instructional improvement.