This study (n = 1,044) used data from the Teacher Education and Development Study in Mathematics (TEDS-M) to examine the relationship between field experience focus (instruction- or exploration-focused), duration, and timing (early or not) and prospective elementary teachers' intertwined knowledge and beliefs about mathematics and mathematics learning. Early instruction-focused field experience (i.e., leading directly to classroom instruction) was positively related to the study outcomes in programs with such field experience of median or shorter duration. Moreover, the duration of instruction-focused field experience was positively related to study outcomes in programs without early instruction-focused field experience. By contrast, the duration of exploration-focused field experience (e.g., observation) was not related to the study outcomes. These findings suggest that field experience has important but largely overlooked relationships with prospective teachers' mathematical knowledge and beliefs. Implications for future research are discussed.
Erik D. Jacobson
Mathematicians and university math educators insist that multiplication is not repeated addition; however, the interpretation works when solving most elementary school mathematical problems. Sure, mathematicians might make a distinction, but does such hair splitting matter to third graders? Should it matter to their teachers?