Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 67–82 | Cite as

Working for learning: teaching assistants developing mathematics for teaching

  • Pat DrakeEmail author


This article derives from a case study of 10 secondary school teaching assistants (TAs) who did not have conventional pre-qualifications in mathematics but who undertook an honours degree in mathematics education studies at a Higher Education Institution in England whilst continuing to work as TAs in school. Work-based learning was thus undertaken in parallel with advancement through the hierarchical undergraduate mathematics curriculum. Lave and Wenger’s work on communities of practice is used as a framework to explore the TAs’ learning of mathematics alongside their professional work in schools. This case illustrates how and where institution-based undergraduate teaching relates to work in school, and where it does not, thus signalling the importance of the TAs’ informal learning strategies in bringing together these experiences.


Undergraduate mathematics curriculum Work-based learning Mathematics for teaching Teaching assistants 



I would like to thank all the anonymous reviewers whose helpful and thought-provoking comments helped structure this article; the TAs in the study, and my colleague Angela Jacklin without whose encouragement I might well have given up.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of SussexBrightonEngland, UK

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