Enhancing research-teaching linkages in teacher education: Insight gained from mathematics education

Leavy, Aisling (2010) Enhancing research-teaching linkages in teacher education: Insight gained from mathematics education. [Conference Proceedings]

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Research Teaching Linkages Practice and Policy Conference Proceedings NAIRTL 3rd Annual Conference.pdf

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Abstract

There has been a growing movement internationally to incorporate statistical concepts in primary education. Supporting the development of conceptual understanding of statistical concepts requires that teachers themselves have rich connected understandings. However these statistical concepts may be as new a topic for teachers as for the students they teach. This study addressed the question of how to support pre-service primary teachers in acquiring the necessary understandings to support children in the development of rich interconnected statistical understandings. Traditional efforts to bring improvements in mathematics education have focused primarily on examining teachers mathematical understandings. Research methods generally involve administering mathematical problems disconnected from classroom teaching contexts. What these studies do not provide is insights into the knowledge needed for teaching – or pedagogical content knowledge. This research used a series of Lesson Study (Lewis, 1999) investigations to identify knowledge needed for teaching primary mathematics and examined knowledge use in the classroom. The research was undertaken with 24 final year pre-service primary teachers electing the teaching of mathematics as a specialist area of study. 40% studied mathematics in the first year of the degree program and 20% were studying mathematics to degree level. Participants worked for one semester on the design, teaching, and revision of lessons addressing core concepts in primary level mathematics. Data analysis reveals that the use of lesson study as a research tool provided information critical to inform the design and structure of teaching experiences at pre-service level. The results highlight problems of practice in mathematics education for early career primary teachers, problems difficult to identify using traditional methods of educational research. Pre-service teachers were unaware of the types of knowledge and understandings required to teach primary statistics and underestimated the complexity of data concepts. Specific content knowledge difficulties were revealed relating to categorical/numerical data distinctions, graphical representations, and measures of central tendency. Experience with the process of lesson study helped challenge traditional conceptions of what it means to teach data handling and provided valuable insights into the design of environments conducive to mathematical thinking and reasoning.

Item Type: Conference Proceedings
Depositing User: National Forum
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2015 07:26
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2015 21:45
URI: http://eprints.teachingandlearning.ie/id/eprint/2724

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