Learning Through Teaching Mathematics: Development of Teachers' Knowledge and Expertise in Practice

Springer Science & Business Media
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The idea of teachers Learning through Teaching (LTT) – when presented to a naïve bystander – appears as an oxymoron. Are we not supposed to learn before we teach? After all, under the usual circumstances, learning is the task for those who are being taught, not of those who teach. However, this book is about the learning of teachers, not the learning of students. It is an ancient wisdom that the best way to “truly learn” something is to teach it to others. Nevertheless, once a teacher has taught a particular topic or concept and, consequently, “truly learned” it, what is left for this teacher to learn? As evident in this book, the experience of teaching presents teachers with an exciting opp- tunity for learning throughout their entire career. This means acquiring a “better” understanding of what is being taught, and, moreover, learning a variety of new things. What these new things may be and how they are learned is addressed in the collection of chapters in this volume. LTT is acknowledged by multiple researchers and mathematics educators. In the rst chapter, Leikin and Zazkis review literature that recognizes this phenomenon and stress that only a small number of studies attend systematically to LTT p- cesses. The authors in this volume purposefully analyze the teaching of mathematics as a source for teachers’ own learning.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Springer Science & Business Media
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Published on
Apr 10, 2010
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Pages
300
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ISBN
9789048139903
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Language
English
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Genres
Education / Adult & Continuing Education
Education / Educational Psychology
Education / Professional Development
Education / Teaching Methods & Materials / General
Education / Teaching Methods & Materials / Mathematics
Education / Training & Certification
Science / Study & Teaching
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Teacher education seeks to transform prospective and/or practicing teachers from neophyte possibly uncritical perspectives on teaching and learning to more knowledgeable, adaptable, analytic, insightful, observant, resourceful, reflective and confident professionals ready to address whatever challenges teaching secondary mathematics presents.

This transformation occurs optimally through constructive engagement in tasks that foster knowledge for teaching secondary mathematics. Ideally such tasks provide a bridge between theory and practice, and challenge, surprise, disturb, confront, extend, or provoke examination of alternatives, drawn from the context of teaching. We define tasks as the problems or activities that, having been developed, evaluated and refined over time, are posed to teacher education participants. Such participants are expected to engage in these tasks collaboratively, energetically, and intellectually with an open mind and an orientation to future practice. The tasks might be similar to those used by classroom teachers (e.g., the analysis of a graphing problem) or idiosyncratic to teacher education (e.g., critique of videotaped practice).

This edited volume includes chapters based around unifying themes of tasks used in secondary mathematics teacher education. These themes reflect goals for mathematics teacher education, and are closely related to various aspects of knowledge required for teaching secondary mathematics. They are not based on the conventional content topics of teacher education (e.g., decimals, grouping practices), but on broad goals such as adaptability, identifying similarities, productive disposition, overcoming barriers, micro simulations, choosing tools, and study of practice. This approach is innovative and appeals both to prominent authors and to our target audiences.

This book is grounded in the author’s experiences of teaching mathematics for prospective elementary school teachers and conducting research on their understanding of mathematical concepts. It is a reflection on practice and an attempt to cope with a double challenge: that of a teacher, in helping prospective teachers make sense of mathematics, and that of a researcher, in an attempt to understand and describe the challenges faced by students. This work fits within the current community interest on teacher education and provides a novel focus, with both theoretical and practical considerations. The central claim in this book is that encounters with mathematical content by prospective elementary school teachers constitute relearning, rather than learning, of mathematics. The specific focus is on topics related to elementary number theory (e.g. divisibility, prime factorization), which is referred to as a “forgotten queen” (following Gauss’ reference to number theory as a queen of mathematics). This is the content area that has not received significant attention in mathematics education research. The book can be summarized as an attempt to address the following questions: What is relearning of mathematical content and how is it similar to or different from learning? What are the examples of specific mathematical topics or concepts that require relearning? What pedagogical approaches can support relearning? The detailed analysis of research data and pedagogical approaches presented in the book are intertwined with stories of personal experiences of the author, which makes the reading not only intellectually stimulating but also enjoyable.
Mindshift reveals how we can overcome stereotypes and preconceived ideas about what is possible for us to learn and become.
 
At a time when we are constantly being asked to retrain and reinvent ourselves to adapt to new technologies and changing industries, this book shows us how we can uncover and develop talents we didn’t realize we had—no matter what our age or background. We’re often told to “follow our passions.” But in Mindshift, Dr. Barbara Oakley shows us how we can broaden our passions. Drawing on the latest neuroscientific insights, Dr. Oakley shepherds us past simplistic ideas of “aptitude” and “ability,” which provide only a snapshot of who we are now—with little consideration about how we can change.
     Even seemingly “bad” traits, such as a poor memory, come with hidden advantages—like increased creativity. Profiling people from around the world who have overcome learning limitations of all kinds, Dr. Oakley shows us how we can turn perceived weaknesses, such as impostor syndrome and advancing age, into strengths. People may feel like they’re at a disadvantage if they pursue a new field later in life; yet those who change careers can be fertile cross-pollinators: They bring valuable insights from one discipline to another. Dr. Oakley teaches us strategies for learning that are backed by neuroscience so that we can realize the joy and benefits of a learning lifestyle. Mindshift takes us deep inside the world of how people change and grow. Our biggest stumbling blocks can be our own preconceptions, but with the right mental insights, we can tap into hidden potential and create new opportunities.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
This book is grounded in the author’s experiences of teaching mathematics for prospective elementary school teachers and conducting research on their understanding of mathematical concepts. It is a reflection on practice and an attempt to cope with a double challenge: that of a teacher, in helping prospective teachers make sense of mathematics, and that of a researcher, in an attempt to understand and describe the challenges faced by students. This work fits within the current community interest on teacher education and provides a novel focus, with both theoretical and practical considerations. The central claim in this book is that encounters with mathematical content by prospective elementary school teachers constitute relearning, rather than learning, of mathematics. The specific focus is on topics related to elementary number theory (e.g. divisibility, prime factorization), which is referred to as a “forgotten queen” (following Gauss’ reference to number theory as a queen of mathematics). This is the content area that has not received significant attention in mathematics education research. The book can be summarized as an attempt to address the following questions: What is relearning of mathematical content and how is it similar to or different from learning? What are the examples of specific mathematical topics or concepts that require relearning? What pedagogical approaches can support relearning? The detailed analysis of research data and pedagogical approaches presented in the book are intertwined with stories of personal experiences of the author, which makes the reading not only intellectually stimulating but also enjoyable.
This book offers multiple interconnected perspectives on the largely untapped potential of elementary number theory for mathematics education: its formal and cognitive nature, its relation to arithmetic and algebra, its accessibility, its utility and intrinsic merits, to name just a few. Its purpose is to promote explication and critical dialogue about these issues within the international mathematics education community. The studies comprise a variety of pedagogical and research orientations by an international group of researchers that, collectively, make a compelling case for the relevance and importance of number theory in mathematics education in both pre K-16 settings and mathematics teacher education.

Topics variously engaged include:
*understanding particular concepts related to numerical structure and number theory;
*elaborating on the historical and psychological relevance of number theory in concept development;
*attaining a smooth transition and extension from pattern recognition to formative principles;
*appreciating the aesthetics of number structure;
*exploring its suitability in terms of making connections leading to aha! insights and reaching toward the learner's affective domain;
*reexamining previously constructed knowledge from a novel angle;
*investigating connections between technique and theory;
*utilizing computers and calculators as pedagogical tools; and
*generally illuminating the role number theory concepts could play in developing mathematical knowledge and reasoning in students and teachers.

Overall, the chapters of this book highlight number theory-related topics as a stepping-stone from arithmetic toward generalization and algebraic formalism, and as a means for providing intuitively grounded meanings of numbers, variables, functions, and proofs.

Number Theory in Mathematics Education: Perspectives and Prospects is of interest to researchers, teacher educators, and students in the field of mathematics education, and is well suited as a text for upper-level mathematics education courses.
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