Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 187-206

First online:

The role of subject knowledge in primary prospective teachers’ approaches to teaching the topic of area

  • Carol MurphyAffiliated withGraduate School of Education, University of ExeterFaculty of Education, University of Waikato Email author 

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The relationship between primary teachers’ subject knowledge and their approaches to teaching is an ongoing concern. This study reviews the relationship between prospective teachers’ subject knowledge in the topic of area and their approaches to teaching that topic. The research presents case studies of four primary prospective teachers on a 1-year postgraduate teaching course. The strengths and limitations of their subject knowledge are examined, in relation to their selection of teaching activities. The results suggest connections between these strengths and limitations, in relation to espoused teaching activities and pedagogical orientations. This questions the assumption that secure subject knowledge is necessarily transformed into effective teaching and concurs with other research that suggests other factors may be involved, such as knowledge of learners.


Elementary mathematics education Teacher knowledge Area measurement