What do prospective teachers learn and do in mathematics methods courses? The literature in mathematics education regarding the content of mathematics methods courses reveals substantial variability across institutions. The content of a mathematics methods course is largely dependent on where and with whom the course was offered. What is taught in mathematics methods courses is of interest to stakeholders in mathematics education. Moreover, what is learned is even more important. What do prospective teachers have the opportunity to learn through their mathematics methods courses and what do they learn and carry with them into their teaching practice?
What happens in mathematics methods courses can have a lot to do with the instructor’s theoretical perspective. Three overarching perspectives that are evident in the mathematics education literature are 1) a socio-political perspective, 2) a cognitive perspective, and 3) a situated perspective. Three prominent researchers from each perspective will serve as keynote speakers at this conference. The SIP Conference addresses mathematics methods courses at all levels (elementary, middle, and high) and has the following goals:
- discuss important goals for methods based on theoretical orientations, the participants’ experiences, and the literature.
- identify the nature of activities that might be useful in methods to meet important goals;
- discuss the evolution of methods instructors’ practices within and across individuals;
- suggest protocols for research and reporting practices that would make the literature more useful for building scholarly practices in methods;
- establish a research agenda for improving and determining the impact and residue of methods courses;
- form working/writing groups to progress the research agenda and an action plan for creating and disseminating the agenda.
Our Event Speakers
Rochelle Gutierrez(Social/Political Perspective)
Dr. Rochelle Gutierrez's research focuses on the structural and pedagogical factors involved in equity for marginalized students, especially African American and Latina/Latino students. In the past, she has focused upon understanding the organizational, cultural, and pedagogical aspects of high school mathematics departments that support students of color and students in poverty taking high levels of mathematics by grade 12.
During her address, she will make an argument for the development of political knowledge as a goal for mathematics methods courses. She will also describe ways that she has seen this knowledge internalized and enacted in my experiences with pre-service and in-service secondary mathematics teachers. She will also layout a taxonomy of the forms of political knowledge in use so that instructors of mathematics methods courses could have vocabulary from which to draw when working with teachers.
Marty Simon(Cognitive Perspective)
Dr. Marty Simon's research focuses on understanding the process by which students develop mathematical concepts through their mathematical activity and how such learning can be fostered. Simon has also done extensive research on the development of mathematics teachers as they learn to teach mathematics with a conceptual focus.
During his address, he will articulate his notion of “pedagogical concepts” necessary for teaching mathematics in a reform-oriented way. He will provide examples of pedagogical concepts that he considers as important for prospective teachers to develop. He will also describe ways he envisions this development occurring.
Elham Kazemi(Situated Perspective)
Dr. Elham Kazemi’s research focuses on the challenge of designing professional learning experiences for elementary mathematics teachers and teacher educators so that teachers’ classroom practices improve in ways that are productive for student learning, especially in high poverty settings. Central to this effort is understanding what is entailed in the work of teaching mathematics by eliciting and responding to children’s mathematical thinking in ways that advance the learning of key ideas in mathematics and cultivate productive disciplinary dispositions.
In her address, she will share her perspective on pedagogies of practice and instructional activities and their development for methods courses. She will also share her perspective on public rehearsals of instructional routines.