Cognitive Perspective

Cognitive-ImageSimon (2008) claimed, effective mathematics teacher education requires specification of the learning that it aims to promote. The lack of well-articulated models of teaching hampers the process of specifying goals….The identification of goals for teacher education courses, to the extent it is done explicitly, is generally done by teacher educators in the context of their practices and is not the focus of theoretical and empirical research reports. (p. 19)

It is problematic that most of the thinking about the content and goals of a methods course are created by individuals during and through practice and not through publications and presentations. Simon further lamented,

what is missing almost entirely from [the] literature is an articulation of key pedagogical concepts (emphasis added) that might be promoted in teacher education. What is it that we want teachers to understand about teaching and learning? What are the key concepts that are fundamental to mathematics teaching that is consonant with current reform goals? (p. 20)

Simon, who has a cognitive perspective, posed 4 examples from his own work as pedagogical concepts: a) understanding of classroom norms and their negotiation, b) understanding assimilation, c) understanding what is involved in learning a new mathematical operation, and d) understanding the difference between reflective abstraction and empirical learning (Simon, 2008).

What pedagogical concepts might be suggested by individuals who hold a different orientation toward teaching and learning? For example, if someone has a social justice orientation toward teaching, what are the pedagogical concepts they would find important for preservice teachers to develop during mathematics methods courses? How can we operationalize or gain insight into Simon’s “pedagogical concepts” to promote their teaching in methods?