Primary mathematics teacher education in Australia and China: What might we learn from each other?
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The preparation of teachers to teach mathematics to primary school children differs across nations and cultures. This study used mixed methods to examine the basic content knowledge of trainee teachers in Australia and China. A simple test (30 questions) of content based on an international comparative study in mathematics teacher training found that many of the Australian trainee teachers struggled with material that they might be expected to teach, while the Chinese teachers largely demonstrated mastery. The significance of this finding is examined in the context of the teacher preparation programs in two teacher training institutions. Cultural commentary is added by leading academics in each institution. It was found that in the Australian teacher training institution there was a focus on generic skills and relatively limited opportunity to develop trainee teachers’ content knowledge or specific pedagogy. The relevance of the findings is discussed through the framework of different beliefs in the nature of mathematics and mathematics teaching that have been reported to dominate the different educational systems in China and Australia.
KeywordsPrimary mathematics Teacher training China Australia Content knowledge
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