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

Abstract

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.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    By student teaching we mean a 10–15 week internship in the public schools at the end of the university program. During student teaching, the prospective teachers work with a practicing teacher (called the cooperating teacher) and a university supervisor. The student teachers take on most of the responsibilities of the cooperating teacher including teaching daily lessons, writing and grading assessments, and general classroom management.

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Correspondence to Steven R. Williams.

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Peterson, B.E., Williams, S.R. Learning mathematics for teaching in the student teaching experience: two contrasting cases. J Math Teacher Educ 11, 459–478 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10857-008-9085-9

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Keywords

  • Mathematics for teaching
  • Student teacher
  • Cooperating teacher
  • Student teaching
  • Content knowledge