Learning mathematics for teaching

Blake E. Peterson and Steven R. Williams (both from Brigham Young University) have written an interesting article about Learning mathematics for teaching in the student teaching experience: two contrasting cases. This article was published two days ago in Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education. In their article, they deal with important topics like learning and knowing mathematics, pedagogical content knowledge (Shulman), mathematical knowledge for teaching (Ball and others), and they also discuss the influence of beliefs on teaching. All in all, this is very much in line with my own research interest, and I think the article gives a nice overview of the relevant literature in the field. The study presented is also interesting. So, if you are interested in any of the above mentioned topics, you should definitely take a closer look at this article!

Here is the abstract:

Student teaching (guided teaching by a prospective teacher under the supervision of an experienced “cooperating” teacher) provides an important opportunity for prospective teachers to increase their understanding of mathematics in and for teaching. The interactions between a student teacher and cooperating teacher provide an obvious mechanism for such learning to occur. We report here on data that is part of a larger study of eight student teacher/cooperating teacher pairs, and the core themes that emerged from their conversations. We focus on two pairs for whom the core conversational themes represent disparate approaches to mathematics in and for teaching. One pair, Blake and Mr. B., focused on controlling student behavior and rarely talked about mathematics for teaching. The other pair, Tara and Mr. T., focused on having students actively participating in the lesson and on mathematics from the students’ point of view. These contrasting experiences suggest that student teaching can have a profound effect on prospective teachers’ understanding of mathematics in and for teaching.

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