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The professional education and development of prospective teachers of mathematics

posted on 2023-05-22, 13:35 authored by Anthony, G, Kim Beswick, Ell, F

This critical review of Australasian research on the professional education of prospective teachers of mathematics, presented or published in the period from 2008-2011, covers a period in which teacher education has undergone 'dynamic reform' at a global level (Tatto, Lerman, & Novotna, 2010). In Australasia, teacher education programs have experienced a range of systemic, political, social, and economic pressures that have led to modifications in program and curricula structures and increased performativity requirements. These pressures are fuelled by the widespread belief that "improvements in student learning depend on substantial, large-scale changes in how we prepare and support teachers" (Ball & Forzani, 2009, p. 497). The motivating force behind this attention is the claim that teachers are 'key' to students' opportunities to learn mathematics. In creating these opportunities to learn mathematics it is clear that "what mathematics teachers know, care about, and do is a product of their experiences and socialisation both prior to and after entering teaching, together with the impact of their professional education" (Even & Ball, 2009, p. 1). It is the experiences and socialisation associated with the education of prospective teachers of mathematics-the preservice and induction phase-that are the focus of attention in this chapter.

Grossmann and McDonald (2008) argued that changes in the way we have come to look at teaching, shifting from a focus primarily on teacher characteristics to looking at teaching behaviours, teacher decision making, teacher knowledge, and teacher reflection and dispositions, necessitate that we "attend to preparing novices for the relational as well as the intellectual demands of teaching" (p. 185). Internationally, pre-service mathematics educators' efforts to 'prepare' quality teachers of mathematics have focused on recruitment and retention of prospective teachers, development of new pathways to teaching, and renovations to the curriculum of professional education for teachers (Ball & Forzani, 2009). In this chapter we look at how research from Australasia has provided insight and direction in each of these areas. Taking the lead from the conceptual frameworks presented at the 15th International Commission on Mathematical Instruction (ICMI) study The Professional Education and Development of Teachers of Mathematics (Even & Ball, 2009), and adapting the structure of the 2004-2007 MERGA review chapter (Goos, Smith, & Thornton, 2008) we have chosen to organise our analysis of Australasian studies as follows:

  1. - research on recruitment of prospective teachers of mathematics;
  2. - research that has sought to understand the process of becoming a teacher;
  3. - research that has sought to probe the knowledges for teaching;
  4. - research that interrogates initial teacher education practices and pedagogies; and
  5. - research involving teacher educators researching on and within their own practice.

The conclusion to the chapter reflects upon the overall contribution of the studies to furthering the field against the recommendations posed by Goos et al. (2008) in the previous review period. Guided by the 15th ICMI study Next Steps for strengthening practice in and research on the professional education and development of prospective teachers of mathematics (Ball & Even, 2009), we frame a set ofrecommendations for further research directions.

We begin by outlining current structures of pre-service teacher education programs in Australia and New Zealand.


Publication title

Research in Mathematics Education in Australasia 2008-2011


B Perry, T Lowrie, T Logan, A MacDonald and J Greenlees






Faculty of Education


Sense Publishers

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Copyright 2012 Sense Publishers

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Learner and learning not elsewhere classified

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