Structural and conceptual interweaving of mathematics methods coursework and field practica
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This paper describes a study of observed relationships between the design of a preservice elementary mathematics methods course with accompanying field practicum and changes in the extent to which participating prospective teachers identified themselves with the mathematics reform movement after becoming practicing teachers. The curriculum of the course with its embedded field practicum experiences was designed to support prospective teachers in interweaving methods coursework and pedagogical instruction with classroom practice. University and elementary school structures were interwoven by conducting weekly mathematics methods course sessions at a school site followed immediately by related practicum experiences in classrooms in the school. The interweaving of conceptualizations about mathematics teaching and learning was facilitated as the methods instructor provided professional development for classroom teachers simultaneously with the methods course, encouraging the teachers to create “reform-friendly” classroom environments. Survey data from 68 prospective teachers involved in the project were analyzed to identify and describe relationships between course/practicum experiences and the degree to which they as practicing teachers, 1–3 years following the course/practicum, identified with a reform mathematics perspective, as well as to examine factors influencing those relationships.
KeywordsMathematics teacher education Field experiences Prospective teacher education
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