Mathematics for Secondary Teachers

Mathematics for Secondary Teachers

Dr. Billy Jackson

This project focused on an examination of the NCTM and Common Core Standards in mathematics, including comparing and contrasting the NCTM process standards with the principles of mathematical practice in the Common Core. An additional enhancement focused on the examination of mathematical tasks centered around transformational geometry (emphasized in the Common Core) from an advanced viewpoint designed specifically for teachers.

A unit of instruction that accounted for 25% of the course was designed around transformational geometry and implemented in the fall of 2014.  Preservice teachers completed sample tasks from the 8th grade New York assessment on the topic, and then performed cognitive interviews with at least two 8th or 9th grade students with the same tasks.  The teachers wrote an 8-10 page paper discussing the interviews as well comparing their results with those contained in the literature: at least three articles on student understanding in transformational geometry had to be cited.  Analysis of the submitted projects showed that the teachers developed both subject matter knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge as a result of participating.  They also made strides in making connections to the existing literature and thinking about implications for instruction.

Course Description

The broad goals of this course are to prepare students to take on the varied responsibilities of being secondary school mathematics teachers and develop the knowledge and skills necessary to continue to develop as teachers in the future.

The first goal is focused on NOW (the teaching-related tasks students have this semester) or SOON (the responsibilities students will have when student teaching in a subsequent semester). The second is about FOREVER (students continued learning and development as a teacher of mathematics over the course of your career).

As examples of the way that the NOW/SOON and FOREVER complement each other, the course was been designed to help students:

  • begin to develop a deeper understanding of the school mathematics curriculum and become a lifelong explorer of the mathematics students are teaching
  • begin to develop a comfortable and workable teaching persona and become a professional who has strategies to keep evolving as a teacher
  • begin to be a thoughtful questioner and active listener, comfortable enough to focus on their students as well as on their own performance, and become a reflective critic of their own actions, sensitive to important problems of teaching

More specifically, the goals of the course are to help students:

  • Become familiar with a variety of approaches to mathematics instruction
  • Enrich their knowledge of how students think and learn
  • Become savvy consumers of mathematics education resources and research
  • Develop skills for inquiring into and analyzing student thinking and learning
  • Enhance their knowledge of mathematics and mathematical problem solving
  • Enrich their understanding of connections between secondary mathematics content and more advanced mathematical ideas

Course Materials

MAT 305 Syllabus

MAT 305 Clinical Interview Project Guidelines

MAT 305 Transformation- task 1

MAT 305 Transformation- task 2