Continuing from Pre-service: Towards a Professional Development Framework for Mathematics Teachers in the Twenty-First Century

  • Kit Ee Dawn NgEmail author
  • Joseph Kai Kow Yeo
  • Boon Liang Chua
  • Swee Fong Ng
Part of the Mathematics Education – An Asian Perspective book series (MATHEDUCASPER)


Quality teachers have long been recognised as key to preparing the future generation for the nation. Hence, a robust teacher education system with collaborative support from major stakeholders is crucial. Singapore has adopted a complex yet integrated approach in teacher education thus far. This chapter moves on from an earlier report presented in 2009 on the Singapore teacher education system. To pave the way forward, the chapter introduces the visions of key stakeholders in the professional development landscape for teacher education in the twenty-first century. Various factors of influence are analysed before presenting the structure of professional development for mathematics teachers at the National Institute of Education. Current mathematics professional development courses are classified according to aspects of teacher knowledge derived from research so as to gain insights into the content, pedagogical and assessment focuses. Finally, a proposed conceptual framework amidst the multidimensional and multifaceted teacher education landscape is outlined to describe mathematics teacher professional development for the twenty-first century.


Twenty-first-century competencies Mathematics pedagogical content knowledge Mathematics education Professional development framework Teacher education Teacher growth model Teacher professional development 


  1. Ang, K. C. (2015). Mathematical modelling in Singapore schools: A framework for instruction. In N. H. Lee & K. E. D. Ng (Eds.), Mathematical modelling: From theory to practice (1st ed., pp. 57–72). Singapore: World Scientific.Google Scholar
  2. Balakrishnan, G., Yen, Y. P., & Goh, L. E. E. (2010). Mathematical modelling in the Singapore secondary school mathematics curriculum. In B. Kaur & J. Dindyal (Eds.), Mathematical applications and modelling: Yearbook 2010 (1st ed., pp. 247–257). Singapore: Association of Mathematics Educators.Google Scholar
  3. Ball, D. L. (1991). Research on teaching mathematics: Making subject-matter knowledge part of the equation. In J. Brophy (Ed.), Advances in Research on Teaching (Vol. 2, pp. 1–48). Greenwich, CT: JAI.Google Scholar
  4. Ball, D. L., Lubienski, S. T., & Mewborn, D. S. (2001). Research on teaching mathematics: The unsolved problem of teacher’s mathematical knowledge. In V. Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of research on teaching (pp. 433–456). WA: American Educational Research Association.Google Scholar
  5. Ball, D. L., Thames, M. H., & Phelps, G. (2008). Content knowledge for teaching what makes it special? Journal of Teacher Education, 59(5), 389–407.Google Scholar
  6. Barber, M., & Mourshed, M. (2007). How the world’s best performing school systems come out on top. Retrieved from London
  7. Chan, C. M. E., Ng, K. E. D., Widjaja, W., & Seto, C. (2012). Assessment of primary 5 students’ mathematical modelling competencies. Journal of Science and Mathematics Education in Southeast Asia, 35(2), 146–178.Google Scholar
  8. Dolk, M., Widjaja, W., Zonneveld, E., & Fauzan, A. (2010). Examining teacher’s role in relation to their beliefs and expectations about students’ thinking in design research. In R. K. Sembiring, K. Hoogland, & M. Dolk (Eds.), A decade of PMRI in Indonesia (pp. 175–187). Bandung, Utrecht: APS International.Google Scholar
  9. Gopinathan, S., Tan, S., Fang, Y. P., Devi, L., Ramos, C., & Chao, E. (2008). Transforming teacher education: Redefined professionals for 21st century schools. Singapore: National Institute of Education.Google Scholar
  10. Grossman, P. L. (1990). The making of a teacher: Teacher knowledge and teacher education. Teachers College, Columbia University: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  11. Hairon, S., & Dimmock, C. (2012). Singapore schools and professional learning communities: Teacher professional development and school leadership in an Asian hierarchical system. Educational Review, 64(4), 405–424.Google Scholar
  12. Hill, H. C., Ball, D. L., & Schilling, S. G. (2008). Unpacking ‘‘pedagogical content knowledge’’: Conceptualizing and measuring teachers’ topic-specific knowledge of students. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 39(4), 372–400.Google Scholar
  13. Kaur, B. (2012). EPMT Project: A hybrid model of professional development for mathematics teachers. In Electronic Pre-proceedings of the 12th International Congress on Mathematical Education (ICME-12) (pp. 5147–5156). Korea: Seoul.Google Scholar
  14. Kwek, M. L., & Ko, H. C. (2011). The teaching and learning of mathematical modelling in a secondary school. Paper presented at the The 15th International Conference on the Teaching of Mathematical Modelling and Applications: Connecting to practice—Teaching practice and the practice of applied mathematicians, Australian Catholic University (St. Patrick), Melbourne, Australia.Google Scholar
  15. Lee, N. H., Ng, K. E. D., Seto, C., & Loh, M. Y. (2016). Special Session showcasing pedagogy projects: Metacognition and mathematical problem solving: Teaching and learning at the primary levels (Research Presentation). Paper presented at the Mathematics Teachers’ Conference, National Institute of Education.Google Scholar
  16. Lesh, R., & Kelly, A. (2000). Multitiered teaching experiments. In A. E. Kelly & R. A. Lesh (Eds.), Handbook of research design in mathematics and science education (pp. 197–230). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  17. Lim-Teo, S. K. (2009). Mathematics teacher education: Pre-service and in-service programmes. In K. Y. Wong, P. Y. Lee, B. Kaur, P. Y. Foong, & S. F. Ng (Eds.), Mathematics education: The Singapore journey (pp. 48–84). Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Co., Pte. Ltd.Google Scholar
  18. Lim-Teo, S. K., Chua, K. G., Cheang, W. K., & Yeo, K. K. (2007). The development of diploma in education student teachers’ mathematics pedagogical content knowledge. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 5(2), 237–261.Google Scholar
  19. Matos, J. F., Powell, A., & Sztajn, P. (2009). Mathematics teachers’ professional development: Processes of learning in and from practice. In R. Even & D. L. Ball (Eds.), The professional education and development of teachers of mathematics (pp. 167–183). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  20. Michaels, S., & O’Connor, C. (2015). Conceptualizing talk moves as tools: Professional development approaches for academically productive discussion. In L. B. Resnick, C. Asterhan, & S. N. Clarke (Eds.), Socializing intelligence through talk and dialogue. Washington DC: American Educational Research Association.Google Scholar
  21. Ministry of Education [MOE]. (2012a). New model for teachers’ professional development launched [Press release]. Retrieved from
  22. Ministry of Education [MOE]. (2012b). Mathematical modelling resource kit. Singapore, Ministry of Education: Author. Google Scholar
  23. Ministry of Education [MOE]. (2012c). Ordinary-level and normal (academic)-level mathematics teaching and learning syllabus. Singapore: Ministry of Education.Google Scholar
  24. Ministry of Education [MOE]. (2015). Secondary mathematics assessment guide. Singapore: Ministry of Education.Google Scholar
  25. Ministry of Education [MOE]. (2016, December 20). Development programmes and postgraduate scholarship. Retrieved from
  26. Ministry of Education [MOE]. (2017a). Career information. Retrieved from
  27. Ministry of Education [MOE]. (2017b, July 18). Academy of Singapore teachers. Retrieved from
  28. Ministry of Education [MOE]. (2017c, October 15). Academy of Singapore teachers. Retrieved from
  29. National Institute of Education [NIE]. (2009). A teacher education model for the 21st century. Singapore: National Institute of Education.Google Scholar
  30. National Institute of Education [NIE]. (2012). Teacher education 21 implementation report: NIE’s journey from concept to realisation. Singapore: National Institute of Education.Google Scholar
  31. National Institute of Education [NIE]. (2017a). National Institute of Education. Retrieved from
  32. National Institute of Education [NIE]. (2017b). Office of teacher education. Retrieved January 23, 2017 from
  33. National Institute of Education [NIE]. (2017c). Teaching scholars programme. Retrieved from
  34. National institute of Education [NIE]. (2017d). Advanced diploma in primary mathematics education. Retrieved from
  35. National Institute of Education [NIE]. (2017e). MOE-sponsored graduate teachers. Retrieved from
  36. National Institute of Education [NIE]. (2017f). Master’s by coursework programmes. Retrieved from
  37. National Institute of Education [NIE]. (2017g). NIE professional learning catalogue. Retrieved from
  38. Ng, C. H. J., & Foo, K. F. (2009). Singapore master teachers in mathematics. In K. Y. Wong, P. Y. Lee, B. Kaur, P. Y. Foong, & S. F. Ng (Eds.), Mathematics education: The Singapore journey (pp. 150–166). Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Co., Pte. Ltd.Google Scholar
  39. Ng, K. E. D. (2017). In-service course IME2008: Mathematical modelling for secondary mathematics. Singapore: National Institute of Education.Google Scholar
  40. Ng, K. E. D., Widjaja, W., Chan, C. M. E., & Seto, C. (2012). Activating teacher critical moments through reflection on mathematical modelling facilitation. In J. Brown & T. Ikeda (Eds.), The 12th International Congress on Mathematical Education (ICME-12) Electronic Pre-conference Proceedings TSG17: Mathematical Applications and Modelling in the Teaching and Learning of Mathematics (pp. 3347–3356). Korea: Seoul: ICME12.Google Scholar
  41. Ng, K. E. D., Widjaja, W., Chan, C. M. E., & Seto, C. (2015). Developing teaching competencies through videos for facilitation of mathematical modelling in Singapore primary schools. In S. F. Ng (Ed.), The contributions of video and audio technology towards professional development of mathematics teachers (pp. 15–38). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  42. Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development [OECD]. (2017). PISA 2015 key findings for Singapore. Retrieved from
  43. Shulman, L. S. (1986). Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Researcher, 15(2), 4–14.Google Scholar
  44. Shulman, L. S. (1987). Knowledge and teaching: Foundations of the new reform. Educational Review, 57(1), 1–22.Google Scholar
  45. Stacey, K. (2012). The international assessment of mathematical literacy: PISA 2012 framework and items. In Electronic pre-proceedings of the 12th International Congress on Mathematical Education (ICME-12) (pp. 756–772). Korea: Seoul.Google Scholar
  46. Tan, H. S. H., Ng, K. E. D., & Cheng, L. P. (2017a). Towards a conceptual framework for assessment literacy for mathematics teachers. In B. Kaur, W. K. Ho, T. L. Toh, & B. H. Choy (Eds.), 41st Annual Meeting of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (PME 41): Mathematics Education Research—Learning, Instruction, Outcomes & Nexus? (Vol. 4, pp. 247–256). National Institute of Education, Singapore: PME.Google Scholar
  47. Tan, J. P. L., Choo, S. S., Kang, T., & Liem, G. A. D. (2017b). Educating for twenty-first century competencies and future-ready learners: Research perspectives from Singapore. Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 37(4), 425–436.Google Scholar
  48. Tan, L. S., & Ang, K. C. (2015). A school-based professional development programme for teachers of mathematical modelling in Singapore. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education. Retrieved from Scholar
  49. Tan, O. S. (2012). Fourth Way in action: Teacher education in Singapore. Educational Research for Policy and Practice, 11(1), 35–41.Google Scholar
  50. Tatto, M. T., Schwille, J., Senk, S. L., Ingvarson, L., Rowley, G., Peck, R.,… Reckase, M. (2012). Policy, practice, and readiness to teach primary and secondary mathematics in 17 countries: Findings from the IEA teacher education and development study in mathematics (TEDS-M). Retrieved from Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
  51. Wong, K. Y., Boey, K. L., & Lee, N. H. (2010). TEDS-M: Teacher education and development study in mathematics—An international comparative study of mathematics pre-service education. Singapore: National Institute of Education.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kit Ee Dawn Ng
    • 1
    Email author
  • Joseph Kai Kow Yeo
    • 1
  • Boon Liang Chua
    • 1
  • Swee Fong Ng
    • 1
  1. 1.National Institute of EducationSingaporeSingapore

Personalised recommendations