Constructing Knowledge for Teaching Secondary Mathematics
Tasks to enhance prospective and practicing teacher learning
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.
Orit Zaslavsky is an Associate Professor of Mathematics Education at the Department of Education in Technology and Science, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. She directed several wide scope national professional development projects for secondary mathematics teachers, and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses for prospective and practicing mathematics teachers. Her main research and development projects include: The Interplay between Teachers' Use of Instructional Examples in Mathematics and Students' Learning (3-year study funded by the Israel Science Foundation); and a 5-year national program for promoting excellence and motivating and advancing the potential of high achieving students in learning mathematics (the program focuses on the preparation of secondary teachers to meet these goals).
She is currently a guest editor of a special issue of the Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education focusing on the nature and role of tasks for teacher education, and the leading author of a chapter in the 2nd International Handbook Professional Development in Mathematics Education: Trends and Tasks.
Peter Sullivan is Professor of Science, Mathematics, and Information Technology Education in Monash University. His main professional achievements are in the field of research. Some major research projects include the Early Numeracy Research Project, and three Australian Research Council (ARC) funded projects: Overcoming barriers in mathematics learning project; the Using interactive media in enhancing teachers' awareness of key characteristics of effecting teaching project; and the Maximizing success in mathematics for disadvantaged students project.
He is a member of the Australian Research Council College of Experts for Social Behavioral and Economic Sciences.
He is an author of the popular teacher resource Open-ended maths activities: Using good questions to enhance learning that is published in the US as Good questions for math teaching. He is an editor of the Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education.