Knowledge and confidence of pre-service mathematics teachers

Yeping Li and Gerald Kulm have written an interesting article that was published in ZDM on Tuesday. The article is entitled Knowledge and confidence of pre-service mathematics teachers: the case of fraction division. Here is the abstract of the article:

To make teacher preparation and professional development effective, it is important to find out possible deficiencies in teachers’ knowledge as well as teachers’ own perceptions about their needs. By focusing on pre-service teachers’ knowledge of fraction division in this article, we conceptualize the notion of pre-service teachers’ knowledge in mathematics and pedagogy for teaching as containing both teachers’ perceptions of their preparation and their mathematics knowledge needed for teaching. With specific assessment instruments developed for pre-service middle school teachers, we focus on both pre-service teachers’ own perceptions about their knowledge preparation and the extent of their mathematics knowledge on the topic of fraction division. The results reveal a wide gap between sampled pre-service middle school teachers’ general perceptions/confidence and their limited mathematics knowledge needed for teaching fraction division conceptually. The results suggest that these pre-service teachers need to develop a sound and deep understanding of mathematics knowledge for teaching in order to build their confidence for classroom instruction. The study’s findings indicate the feasibility and importance of conceptualizing the notion of teachers’ knowledge in mathematics and pedagogy for teaching to include teachers’ perceptions. The applicability and implications of this expanded notion of teachers’ knowledge is then discussed.

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