Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education

, Volume 11, Issue 6, pp 459–478 | Cite as

Learning mathematics for teaching in the student teaching experience: two contrasting cases

  • Blake E. Peterson
  • Steven R. WilliamsEmail author


Student teaching (guided teaching by a prospective teacher under the supervision of an experienced “cooperating” teacher) provides an important opportunity for prospective teachers to increase their understanding of mathematics in and for teaching. The interactions between a student teacher and cooperating teacher provide an obvious mechanism for such learning to occur. We report here on data that is part of a larger study of eight student teacher/cooperating teacher pairs, and the core themes that emerged from their conversations. We focus on two pairs for whom the core conversational themes represent disparate approaches to mathematics in and for teaching. One pair, Blake and Mr. B., focused on controlling student behavior and rarely talked about mathematics for teaching. The other pair, Tara and Mr. T., focused on having students actively participating in the lesson and on mathematics from the students’ point of view. These contrasting experiences suggest that student teaching can have a profound effect on prospective teachers’ understanding of mathematics in and for teaching.


Mathematics for teaching Student teacher Cooperating teacher Student teaching Content knowledge 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Brigham Young UniversityProvoUSA

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