Refining the Mathematics Knowledge Base

Refining the Mathematics Knowledge Base

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Understanding the knowledge that teachers must bring to their classrooms is critical to the advancement of the field of teacher education. Understanding how teacher knowledge impacts various aspects of teacher practice is also critical. Understanding the interplay between teacher knowledge and practice, and consequently the result that this relationship has on student learning is most important. This dissertation attempts to advance our collective understanding of the complex relationship between teacher knowledge, teacher practice, and student learning in the field of elementary mathematics. Four third-grade teachers were followed as they taught a subset of lessons in a unit on fractions. The study first investigates the types of knowledge that the teachers brought to their classrooms. Then, an examination is conducted of the way in which these types of knowledge impacted their teaching practice. Finally, the student learning that resulted over the course of these lessons is discussed. This study supports the widespread belief that teacher knowledge is important to instruction. The descriptions of the case study teachers highlight that their varying levels of knowledge resulted in unique aspects of practice being emphasized in their classrooms. This dissertation documents the differences in teaching practice and the trade-offs that produce differences in student learning. Interesting student learning patterns emerged, based on qualitative student interviews. Medium students from classrooms in which teachers focused for more sustained periods on mathematical concepts seemed to demonstrate greater procedural fluency and deeper conceptual understanding than their peers in the other classrooms. Low students in classrooms where fluency was the focus seemed to show slightly greater procedural fluency, though less conceptual understanding, than their peers in the classrooms that spent more time on concepts. High students showed no appreciable difference across all classrooms. This study adds to the field by introducing a new construct, the conceptual threshold, to offer an explanation of these student learning trends.PRE-AssEssMENT a€” PAGE 2 Explain how you know. 6. Fill in the sum: Answer: 3 l _ + _ = _7 8 8 Explain how you know. 7. Circle the fraction which is the same as the Answer: fraction below: 1 l l i 4 3 4 2 16 8 Explain how you know. 8.

Title:Refining the Mathematics Knowledge Base
Author: Bindu Elizabeth Pothen
Publisher:Stanford University - 2011

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