How Can Professional Development Contribute to University Mathematics Teaching?

  • Leigh N. Wood
  • Peter Petocz
  • Anna Reid
Chapter
Part of the Mathematics Education Library book series (MELI, volume 56)

Abstract

In this chapter we examine the role of mathematics academics in the teaching and learning of university mathematics courses. We consider various ways in which university mathematics educators could enhance their professional work by guiding students towards not only learning mathematics, but also becoming mathematicians. This aim arises from a view that our professionalism as educators can always be improved by reflection on our current practice, rather than from a view that we are not doing our job properly at present. Yet there is a need for such reflection. In mathematics, as in many university disciplines, lecturers are appointed on the basis of their discipline expertise in mathematics itself, and their pedagogical skills are assumed to follow from this. However, their individual teaching approaches may be based on their previous experience as (often atypical) students and the approaches used by their own lecturers. Our students and graduates have certainly made many comments about the problems caused by such an approach. A key question is what approach to professional development is most effective in improving the pedagogical effectiveness of university mathematics educators, and the ultimate aim of enhancing our students’ learning. It is likely that there are a range of effective approaches, and that some will work better than others in different situations. We consider several models of professional development for mathematics teaching at the university level. These include models based on action research processes, models that consider learning from peers, a model based on professional standards and quality assurance processes, and finally, models that have their genesis in a sociological approach to mathematics education.

Keywords

Professional Development Mathematics Educator Professional Standard Action Research Project Academic Development 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leigh N. Wood
    • 1
  • Peter Petocz
    • 2
  • Anna Reid
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculty of Business and EconomicsMacquarie UniversityNorth RydeAustralia
  2. 2.Department of StatisticsMacquarie UniversityNorth RydeAustralia
  3. 3.Sydney Conservatorium of MusicUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

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