Designing teacher education for pre-university mathematics: articulating and operationalising pedagogic messages

Smith, Cathy and Bretscher, Nicola (2018). Designing teacher education for pre-university mathematics: articulating and operationalising pedagogic messages. Teaching Mathematics and its Applications: An International Journal of the IMA, 37(2) pp. 84–97.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/teamat/hry008

Abstract

Reviews of mathematics teacher development point to a problematic and under-theorised relationship between learning mathematics and learning about mathematics pedagogy. We adopt a Bernsteinian perspective to the design and delivery of a course preparing early career teachers to teach pre-university mathematics. The iterative development and underlying rationale of five ‘key pedagogic messages’ is outlined as a process of tactical design. Ongoing evaluation showed the pedagogic messages provided a critical pivot in managing transitions between thinking about the mathematical content and thinking about how to teach that content. In particular, they provided a means for us, as teacher educators, to make explicit our own thinking on mathematics pedagogy and its operationalisation, and hence render it available for reflection and critique. We argue for a design principle of articulating how teacher educators operationalise a few, explicit pedagogic messages; that pre-university mathematics presents a critical site for mathematics teacher education because it facilitates this principle; and that Bernsteinian notions of framing and knowledge structures are useful in designing as well as characterising pedagogic settings.

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