Encyclopedia of Mathematics Education

2014 Edition
| Editors: Stephen Lerman

Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching

  • Jill AdlerEmail author
  • Hamsa Venkat
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-4978-8_98


It was Shulman’s Presidential Address at the 1985 annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, and its publication the following year, that placed content knowledge in and for teaching firmly on the educational research, policy, and practice agenda. Shulman developed this focus from a critique of research on teaching at the time, arguing that attention is needed as much to “the content aspects of teaching as we have recently devoted to the elements of teaching process” (1986, p. 8) and elaborated three components that in concert comprise the professional knowledge base of teaching: subject matter knowledge (SMK), pedagogic content knowledge (PCK), and curriculum knowledge.

Shulman’s description of a teacher’s SMK marked out its specificity:

We expect that the subject matter content understanding of the teacher be at least equal to that of his or her lay colleague, the mere subject matter major. The teacher need not only understand that something is...


Mathematical knowledge for teaching Professional knowledge Lee Shulman Deborah Ball 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa