Advertisement

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
Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

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

Notes

Acknowledgements

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.

References

  1. Bernstein, B. (1996). Pedagogy symbolic control and identity: Theory research and critique. London: Taylor and Francis.Google Scholar
  2. Bernstein, B. (1999). Vertical and horizontal discourse: An essay. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 20, 157–173. doi: 10.1080/01425699995380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cooper, B., & Dunne, M. (1998). Assessing children’s mathematical knowledge: Social class sex and problem-solving. Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Department for Education and Skills. (2003a). Secondary schools curriculum and staffing survey: November 2002. SFR 25/2003. Retrieved February 17, 2006, from http://www.dfes.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s000413/sfr25-2003.pdf.
  5. Department for Education and Skills. (2003b). Widening participation in higher education. Retrieved September 23, 2005, from http://www.dfes.gov.uk/hegateway/uploads/EWParticipation.pdf.
  6. Department for Education and Skills. (2006). Children’s workforce strategy: Building a world-class workforce for children, young people and families. Retrieved March 23, 2006, from http://www.everychildmatters.gov.uk.
  7. Drake, P. (2001). Mathematics and all that: Who teaches the number stuff? Active Learning in Higher Education, 2(1), 46–52.Google Scholar
  8. Drake, P. (2005). A case of learning mathematics the hard way as a teaching assistant. Review of Mathematics Education 7, 19–32.Google Scholar
  9. Drake, P., & Heath, L. (2008). Researching in schools and universities: Insiders and professional doctorates. Higher Education Review, 41(1), 21–35.Google Scholar
  10. Dowling, P. (1998). The sociology of mathematics education: Mathematical myths/pedagogic Texts. London: Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  11. Dunne, M. (1999). Positioned neutrality: Mathematics teachers and the cultural politics of their classrooms. Educational Review, 51, 117–128. doi: 10.1080/00131919997560.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Education Data Surveys. (May 2008). Monthly commentary: Analysis of applications to teacher training. Retrieved June 20, 2008, from http://www.educationdatasurveys.org.uk/.
  13. Gutting, G. (Ed.). (1994). The Cambridge companion guide to Foucault. London: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Hastings, S. (2005). Count on me. Times Educational Supplement. 02 December 2005.Google Scholar
  15. Knight, P., Tait, J., & Yorke, M. (2006). The professional learning of teachers in higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 31(3), 319–339 (electronic version). doi: 10.1080/03075070600680786.
  16. Lather, P. (1989). Ideology and methodological attitude. Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, 9(2), 7–26.Google Scholar
  17. Lather, P. (1993). Fertile obsession: Validity after poststructuralism. The Sociological Quarterly, 34, 673–693. doi: 10.1111/j.1533-8525.1993.tb00112.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lave, J. (1988). Cognition in practice: Mind mathematics and culture in everyday life. London: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. London: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Lincoln, Y. S., & Guba, E. G. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  21. Ma, L. (1999). Knowing and teaching mathematics: Teachers understanding of fundamental mathematics in China and the United States. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Eribaum.Google Scholar
  22. Macrae, S., Brown, M., & Rodd, M. (2003). Students’ experience of undergraduate mathematics. Report to the Economic and Social Research Council No. R000238564.Google Scholar
  23. Mayo, P. (1999). Gramsci, Freire, and adult education possibilities for transformative action. London: Zed Books Ltd, New York: St Martin’s Press Inc.Google Scholar
  24. Mendick, H. (2006). Masculinities in mathematics. Maidenhead: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Rowland, T., Huckstep, P., & Thwaites, A. (2005). Elementary teachers’ mathematics subject knowledge: the knowledge quartet and the case of Naomi. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 8(3), 255–281 (electronic version). doi: 10.1007/s10857-005-0853-5.Google Scholar
  26. Shulman, L. (1986). Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Researcher, 15, 4–14.Google Scholar
  27. Tabberer, R. (2004). Briefing to Universities Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET) Management Forum 28 October 2004 at the Institute of Education University of London.Google Scholar
  28. Training and Development Agency. (2008). Professional standards for qualified teacher status and requirements for initial teacher training. Retrieved September 24, 2008, from http://www.tda.gov.uk/teachers/professionalstandards/standards/knowledgeunderstanding/subjectcurriculum/core.aspx. Training and Development Agency for Schools London SW1E 5TT.
  29. Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning meaning and identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of SussexBrightonEngland, UK

Personalised recommendations