Educational Studies in Mathematics

, Volume 66, Issue 3, pp 349–371 | Cite as

Exploring mathematics teacher knowledge to explain the gap between theory-based recommendations and school practice in the use of connecting tasks



This study is grounded in the theoretical position that solving problems in different ways creates mathematical connections when learning and teaching mathematics. It acknowledges the central role teachers play in providing students with learning opportunities, and it is based on the empirical finding that mathematics teachers are reluctant to solve problems in different ways in the classroom. In this paper we address the contradiction between theory-based recommendations and school mathematics practice. Based on analysis of individual interviews and two group meetings with 12 Israeli secondary school mathematics teachers, we demonstrate that in the context of multiple-solution connecting tasks this discrepancy is caused by the situated nature of the teachers’ knowledge. We also reveal the complex relationship between different types of teacher knowledge and argue the significance of developing a common language between members of the mathematics education community, including teacher educators and researchers.


Mathematics teachers Multiple solution connecting tasks Teacher knowledge Teaching practice 



This research was made possible by grant #891/03 from the Israel Science Foundation. We wish to thank Irena Gurevich for her assistance in data collection. We are indebted to the teachers who participated in the study for their collaboration and goodwill. We would like to thank Anna Sfard and the anonymous reviewers for their insightful and stimulating comments on the earlier version of the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsrael

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