Cohen (1990)

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A Revolution in One Classroom: The Case of Mrs. Oublier


This essay probes the relationship between instructional policy and teaching practice. In the mid 1980s, California State officials launched an ambitious effort to revise mathematics teaching and learning. The aim was to replace mechanical memorization with mathematical understanding. This essay considers one teacher's response to the new policy. She sees herself as a success for the policy: she believes that she has revolutionized her mathematics teaching. But observation of her classroom reveals that the innovations in her teaching have been filtered through a very traditional approach to instruction. The result is a remarkable melange of novel and traditional material. Policy has affected practice in this case, but practice has had an even greater effect on policy.


Cohen, D. K. (1990). A revolution in one classroom: The case of Mrs. Oublier. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 12(3), 311–329. doi:10.3102/01623737012003311
author = {Cohen, David K.},
doi = {10.3102/01623737012003311},
journal = {Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis},
number = {3},
pages = {311--329},
title = {{A revolution in one classroom: The case of Mrs. Oublier}},
url = {},
volume = {12},
year = {1990}