Medium 9781475832518

Tep Vol 29-N4

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Teacher Education and Practice, a peer-refereed journal, is dedicated to the encouragement and the dissemination of research and scholarship related to professional education. The journal is concerned, in the broadest sense, with teacher preparation, practice and policy issues related to the teaching profession, as well as being concerned with learning in the school setting. The journal also serves as a forum for the exchange of diverse ideas and points of view within these purposes. As a forum, the journal offers a public space in which to critically examine current discourse and practice as well as engage in generative dialogue. Alternative forms of inquiry and representation are invited, and authors from a variety of backgrounds and diverse perspectives are encouraged to contribute. Teacher Education & Practice is published by Rowman & Littlefield.

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The Critical Nature of the Knowledge of Content and Students Domain of Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching

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The Critical Nature of the Knowledge of Content and Students Domain of Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching

Steve Rhine

ABSTRACT: Teacher education programs have the responsibility of preparing preservice teachers with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that initiate effective and rewarding careers. In this thematic issue, the author considers mathematical knowledge for teaching and argues that knowledge of content and students is the most critical knowledge for teacher education programs to focus on. In an examination of research on teacher listening, noticing, Mathematically Important Pedagogical Opportunities, the difference between how master and novice teachers process classroom dynamics, and, finally, the specific context of algebra and how work at the Center for Algebraic Thinking influences the discussion, the author suggests that knowledge of content and students is the catalyst for use of other forms of teacher knowledge and instructional decision making in the classroom.

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Improving Elementary Teachers’ Self-Efficacy for Mathematics Teaching1

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Improving Elementary Teachers’ Self-Efficacy for Mathematics Teaching1

James A. Telese

ABSTRACT: A professional development program for mathematics teachers was conducted to improve the teaching of mathematics concepts, which was funded by the Texas Regional Collaboratives for Excellence in Mathematics Teaching. The program director was interested in how the program impacted the participants’ self-efficacy for teaching mathematics. The instrument used was the Mathematics Teaching Efficacy Belief Instrument. The instrument consisted of 21 items with two subscales: Personal Mathematics Teaching Efficacy Belief (PMTE) and Mathematics Teaching Outcome Expectancy (MTOE). The results indicated that a focused, sustained professional development program positively impacted the participants’ PMTE and MTOE. The MTOE was positively impacted but to a lesser degree.

The professional development of mathematics teachers has become a matter of importance; as Sowder (2007) said, “Teachers matter” (p. 157). It is assumed that increasing student achievement in mathematics and closing achievement gaps between groups of students requires having knowledgeable teachers in classrooms (Sowder, 2007). Accountability concerns have heightened the need for teachers to be knowledgeable and confident in the classroom. The state of accountability influences how and what mathematics is taught, spurred by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. While recognizing that all students have the ability to learn, accountability pressures have a tendency to encourage teachers to teach basic skills. It is necessary to move beyond the teaching of basic skills (Sykes, 1999). Many mathematics educators and researchers have found that the key to improvement and increased student achievement rests on the professional development of teachers (e.g., Ball & Cohen, 1999; Elmore & Burney, 1999; Hawley & Valli, 1999). Additionally, much has been written concerning mathematics teachers’ beliefs, attitudes, and affect (e.g., Phillip, 2007; Thompson, 1992). For teachers to use their knowledge in practice, they have to believe themselves knowledgeable and be confident that what they say and do in the classroom makes an impact on student learning (Sowder, 2007). This article reports on a professional development program designed to influence the pedagogical content knowledge of teachers of mathematics through the lens of self-efficacy (e.g., Bandura, 1986, 1997; Borton Kahle, 2008; Maehr & Pintrich, 1997, Sowder, 2007). The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of a mathematics teacher professional development program on participants’ self-efficacy. The study sought to answer the following research questions: (1) How does a mathematics teacher professional development program have an impact on teachers of mathematics self-efficacy? (2) If a change in self-efficacy does occur, when does the change manifest itself? The answer to this question is of interest because if a change does occur, where would it occur during the program? The answer would provide a benchmark as to the speed of the change to manifest itself. (3) What differences, if any, exist in self-efficacy for mathematics teachers at different grade levels: elementary, middle school and high school?

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Prospective Middle School Teachers’ Generalizing Actions as They Reason About Algebraic and Geometric Representations of Even and Odd Numbers

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Prospective Middle School Teachers’ Generalizing Actions as They Reason About Algebraic and Geometric Representations of Even and Odd Numbers

Kadian M. Callahan

ABSTRACT: The abilities to reason about and generalize mathematical relationships and make sense of different mathematical representations are important facets of knowledge for proficiency in teaching middle school mathematics (e.g., Allen et al., 2008; Izsák & Sherin, 2003; Morris, 2007; National Research Council, 2001). Teacher preparation programs provide an avenue to develop these skills by engaging prospective teachers in reasoning, generalizing, and representational experiences as they study mathematics content (Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences, 2001, 2012). This study examined the actions of one group of prospective middle school teachers as they reasoned about algebraic generalizations and geometric representations of even and odd numbers in an undergraduate mathematics content course.

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Algebra Problem-Solving Equity Challenges

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Algebra Problem-Solving Equity Challenges

Building Middle School Preservice Teachers’ Diversity Awareness

Gerald Kulm, Zahira Merchant, Tingting Ma, Ayse Tugba Oner, Trina Davis, and Chance W. Lewis

ABSTRACT: This article focuses on Algebra Problem-Solving Equity Challenge (APSEC) activities, which are designed to build preservice teachers’ awareness, knowledge, and skill in teaching diverse middle-grade students. Thirty-five participants completed a precourse Cultural and Beliefs Inventory, four APSEC activities, and surveys on the effects of the APSEC activities on their awareness and knowledge about teaching for diversity. Qualitative analyses of the participants’ responses to APSEC activities revealed that participants were able to improve the cultural relevance of word problems, describe how to address students’ misconceptions, and answer questions that might arise in a diverse classroom. A structural equation model showed that participants’ cultural beliefs affected responses to student misconceptions and, subsequently, perceptions about success with problem solving, answering student questions, and lesson planning. The key intermediary role of work with misconceptions is seen as an important finding that may suggest a strategy for teaching algebra for equity.

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Do “Those Who Understand” Teach?

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Do “Those Who Understand” Teach?

Mathematics Teachers’ Professional Image

Avikam Gazit and Dorit Patkin

ABSTRACT: The present study examined the professional image of mathematics teachers, their perception of the skills that mathematics teachers should have, and the measures to be taken in order to make an improvement. The study involved 61 mathematics teachers, teaching all age-groups, who responded to a 30-item questionnaire with five rates of consent. They also answered two open-ended questions about the required skills and about what needs to be improved. The findings illustrate that teachers describe themselves as having qualities that are considered ideal for teachers and reject properties conceived as unfit for teaching. There were no significant differences between experienced teachers and novice teachers in most items, except for items dealing with mathematics teachers’ professional image, in the context of teaching improvement from previous years or of pedagogical knowledge. The prominent required skills are mathematical and pedagogical knowledge, which should also be improved.

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Deepening Novice Teachers’ Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching Through Lesson Study in a Collaborative Action Research Context

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Deepening Novice Teachers’ Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching Through Lesson Study in a Collaborative Action Research Context

Rui Kang

ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to explore how the Japanese innovation of “lesson study” could be used as a rich, authentic learning environment to foster collaboration among novice teachers in achieving a predetermined, overarching goal of deepening mathematical knowledge for teaching (MKT). Participants were five mathematics teachers with experience ranging from 1 to 3 years. All five teachers were serving at Title I schools that had a high concentration of poverty. The research design followed the collaborative action research model. The data sources for this qualitative study included videotaped lessons, interviews, meeting minutes, reflective reports, work samples, and questionnaires. The results of this study support the use of lesson study in MKT-focused mathematics teacher education. Specific implications of this study for the design of crucial aspects of lesson studies and for teacher education in general are provided.

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Teacher and Instructional Characteristics of Inclusive Algebra I Classes

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Teacher and Instructional Characteristics of Inclusive Algebra I Classes

Shane A. Smith

ABSTRACT: The number of students with disabilities who are educated alongside their peers without disabilities in general education classes has steadily increased. Although evidence in the current literature generally points to the effectiveness of educating students with disabilities in inclusive settings, little is known about the specific characteristics of general education math teachers in these settings and the classroom practices these teachers use. This study utilized small-scale survey methods to explore the characteristics of the general education algebra I teachers in a midwestern school district, the curricula they use, and their methods and strategies of instruction to address the needs of students with disabilities. Results indicate that teachers receive high levels of instructional support from special educators and use various curricula and instructional strategies to teach students with disabilities.

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