Educational Studies in Mathematics

, Volume 61, Issue 3, pp 293–319 | Cite as

Mathematics-for-Teaching: an Ongoing Investigation of the Mathematics that Teachers (Need to) Know

  • Brent Davis
  • Elaine Simmt


In this article we offer a theoretical discussion of teachers' mathematics-for-teaching, using complexity science as a framework for interpretation. We illustrate the discussion with some teachers' interactions around mathematics that arose in the context of an in-service session. We use the events from that session to illustrate four intertwining aspects of teachers' mathematics-for-teaching. We label these aspects “mathematical objects,” “curriculum structures,” “classroom collectivity,” and “subjective understanding”. Drawing on complexity science, we argue that these phenomena are nested in one another and that they obey similar dynamics, albeit on very different time scales. We conjecture (1) that a particular fluency with these four aspects is important for mathematics teaching and (2) that these aspects might serve as appropriate emphases for courses in mathematics intended for teachers.


complexity science mathematics teaching teacher education teacher knowledge theories of learning 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brent Davis
    • 1
  • Elaine Simmt
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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