Supporting Teacher Learning: Making the Complexities of Teaching Visible for Prospective Teachers

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Most of the prospective teachers who enter my methods courses assume that teaching mathematics to elementary students will be easy. For example, Jenny wrote, “I thought, ‘I can teach math. How can it be so hard? It's elementary math!’ But I have been proven wrong.” Based on comments such as Jenny's, I realized the importance of giving prospective teachers opportunities to understand that effectively teaching mathematics to elementary students is complex and challenging. I recognized that field experience in my mathematics methods courses had to make the complexities of teaching more visible for prospective teachers. In other words, prospective teachers must study teaching practices. Such study would not only require viewing, analyzing, and discussing practices but also include the opportunity for prospective teachers to practice and analyze their own teaching.

Footnotes

Edited by DeAnn Huinker, huinker@uwm.edu, University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI 53211. Readers are encouraged to send manuscripts appropriate for this section to “Supporting Teacher Learning,” Teaching Children Mathematics, 1906 Association Dr., Reston, VA 20191–1502; or send electronic submissions to tcm@nctm.org.

Teaching Children Mathematics

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