, Volume 66, Issue 2, pp 131-143
Date: 16 Feb 2007

Teacher education through the history of mathematics

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Abstract

In this paper I consider the problem of designing strategies for teacher education programs that may promote an aware style of teaching. Among the various elements to be considered I focus on the need to address prospective teachers’ belief that they must reproduce the style of mathematics teaching seen in their school days. Towards this aim, I argue that the prospective teachers need a context allowing them to look at the topics they will teach in a different manner. This context may be provided by the history of mathematics. In this paper I shall discuss how history affected the construction of teaching sequences on algebra during the activities of the ‘laboratory of mathematics education’ carried out in a 2 year education program for prospective teachers. The conditions of the experiment, notably the fact that our prospective teachers had not had specific preparation in the history of mathematics, allow us to outline opportunities and caveats of the use of history in teacher education.