This article reports an investigation into how students of a mathematics course for prospective secondary mathematics teachers in England talk about the notion of ‘understanding mathematics in depth’, which was an explicit goal of the course. We interviewed eighteen students of the course. Through our social practice frame and in the light of a review of the literature on mathematical knowledge for teaching, we describe three themes that weave through the students’ talk: reasoning, connectedness and being mathematical. We argue that these themes illuminate privileged messages in the course, as well as the boundary and relationship between mathematical and pedagogic content knowledge in secondary mathematics teacher education practice.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
‘A Levels’, or more formally, the General Certificate of Education Advanced Level, is the academic qualification offered by educational institutions in the UK (i.e. England, Wales and Northern Ireland) to students aged 17–18 years who are completing pre-university education. A levels follow the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE).
We are in the process of analysing survey data of MEC graduates since 2004 from each of the institutions in our study. The survey explores their entry into, retention and progression in their professional posts, and thus the efficacy of the MEC with respect to recruitment and retention of secondary mathematics teachers in the UK.
The COACTIV project is described as follows: Professional Competence of Teachers, Cognitively Activating Instruction, and Development of Students´ Mathematical Literacy.
Adler, J. (2000). Conceptualising resources as a theme for mathematics teacher education. The Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 3(3), 205–224.
Adler, J., & Davis, Z. (2006). Opening another black box: Researching mathematics for teaching in mathematics teacher education. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 37(4), 270–296.
Adler, J., & Davis, Z. (2011). Modelling teaching in mathematics teacher education and the constitution of mathematics for teaching. In T. Rowland & K. Ruthven (Eds.), Mathematical knowledge in teaching (pp. 139–160). New York: Springer.
Adler, J., & Huillet, D. (2008). The social production of mathematics for teaching. In P. Sullivan & T. Wood (Eds.), International handbook of mathematics teacher education: Vol.1. Knowledge and beliefs in mathematics teaching and teaching development. Rotterdam, the Netherlands: Sense Publishers. (Vol. 1, pp. 195–222). Rotterdam: Sense.
Artzt, A., Sultan, A., Curcio, F. and Gurl, T. (2011). A capstone mathematics course for prospective secondary mathematics teachers. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education. Retrieved from http://www.qc.cuny.edu/Academics/Degrees/Education/Documents/SEYS%20Publish.pdf. doi:10.1007/s10857-011-9189-5.
Askew, M., Brown, M., Rhodes, V., Wiliam, D., & Johnson, D. (1997). Effective teachers of numeracy: Report of a study carried out for the teacher training agency. London: King’s College, University of London.
Ball, D. L., Thames, M. H., & Phelps, G. (2008). Content knowledge for teaching: What makes it special? Journal of Teacher Education, 59, 389–407. doi:10.1177/0022487108324554.
Barton, B. (2009). Being mathematical, holding mathematics: Further steps in mathematical knowledge for teaching. In R. Hunter, B. Bicknell, & T. Burgess (Eds.), Crossing divides: Proceedings of the mathematics education research Group of Australasia (Vol. 1). Palmerston North, NZ: MERGA.
Baumert, J., Kunter, M., Blum, W., Brunner, M., Voss, T., Jordan, A., et al. (2010). Teachers’ mathematical knowledge, cognitive activation in the classroom, and student progress. American Educational Research Journal, 47(1), 133–180. doi:10.3102/0002831209345157.
Bernstein, B. (2000). Pedagogy, symbolic control and identity: Theory, research, critique (2nd ed.). Oxford: Rowman & LIttlefield.
Crisan, C., Rodd, M. (2011). Teachers of mathematics to mathematics teachers: a report on a TDA Mathematics Development Programme for Teachers. Paper presented at the British Society for Research in the Learning of Mathematics (BSRLM).
Davis, B., & Simmt, E. (2006). Mathematics-for-teaching: An ongoing investigation of the mathematics that teachers (need to) know. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 61(3), 293–319.
Davis, Z., Adler, J., & Parker, D. (2007). Identification with images of the teacher and teaching in formalized in-service mathematics teacher education and the constitution of mathematics for teaching. Journal of Education, 42, 33–60.
Dowling, P., & Brown, A. (2010). Doing research/reading research: Re-interrogating education (2nd ed.). London: Routledge.
Hatch, J. A. (2002). Doing qualitative research in education settings. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.
Hill, H. C., Rowan, B., & Ball, D. L. (2005). Effects of teachers’ mathematical knowledge for teaching on student achievement. American Educational Research Journal, 42(2), 371–406.
Hodgen, J. (2011). Knowing and identity: A situated theory of mathematics knowledge in teaching. In T. Rowland & K. Ruthven (Eds.), Mathematical knowledge in teaching (pp. 27–42). Dordrecht: Springer.
Kilpatrick, J., Swafford, J., & Findell, B. (2001). Adding it up: Helping children learn mathematics. Washington: National Academy Press.
Krauss, S., Baumert, J., & Blum, W. (2008). Secondary mathematics teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge and content knowledge: validation of the COACTIV constructs. ZDM, 40(5), 873–892. doi:10.1007/s11858-008-0141-9.
Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Ma, L. (1999). Knowing and teaching elementary mathematics: teachers’ understanding of fundamental mathematics in China and the United States. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Ruthven, K. (2011). Conceptualising mathematical knowledge in teaching. In T. Rowland & K. Ruthven (Eds.), mathematical knowledge in teaching (pp. 83–96). Dordrecht: Springer.
Shulman, L. S. (1986). Those who understand knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Researcher, 15(2), 4–14.
Skemp, R. R. (1976). Relational understanding and instrumental understanding Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, 77, 20–26.
Stevenson, M. (forthcoming). Understanding mathematics in depth: An investigation into the conceptions of secondary mathematics teachers on two UK subject knowledge enhancement courses. PhD, Liverpool Hope.
TTA. (2003). Specification for mathematics enhancement course.
Watson, A. (2008). School mathematics as a special kind of mathematics. For the Learning of Mathematics, 28(3), 3–7.
Watson, A., & Barton, B. (2011). Teaching mathematics as the contextual application of mathematical modes of enquiry. In T. Rowland & K. Ruthven (Eds.), Mathematical knowledge in teaching (pp. 65–82). Dordrecht: Springer.
Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, Mmaning, and identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Zazkis, R. (2011). Relearning mathematics: A challenge for prospective elementary school teachers. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
Zazkis, R., & Leikin, R. (2010). Advanced mathematical knowledge in teaching practice: Perceptions of secondary mathematics teachers. Mathematical Thinking & Learning, 12(4), 263–281. doi:10.1080/10986061003786349.
This paper forms part of the QUANTUM-UK research project on Mathematics for Teaching, directed by Jill Adler, at King’s College London and the University of the Witwatersrand. This material is based upon work supported by King’s College London and the National Research Foundation South Africa under Grant number FA2006031800003, and undertaken by the collaborators authoring the paper. Any opinion, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Research Foundation.
About this article
Cite this article
Adler, J., Hossain, S., Stevenson, M. et al. Mathematics for teaching and deep subject knowledge: voices of Mathematics Enhancement Course students in England. J Math Teacher Educ 17, 129–148 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10857-013-9259-y
- Mathematics for teaching
- Teacher education
- Deep subject knowledge
- Subject matter knowledge
- Pedagogic content knowledge