Preparing Preservice Teachers To Step Up To the Intentions of the Australian Curriculum, Mathematics: Revitalising the Mathematics and Demonstrations of Proficiency

Year: 2010

Author: Klein, Mary, Smith, Kerry

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Key to the Australian curriculum in mathematics is the emphasis placed on the development of proficiency, a level of competence and expertise in the creative use, investigation and communication of mathematical ideas (ACARA, 2010). This implies that at the classroom level teachers and students will be engaged in novel practices, new ways of doing and using mathematics that reach beyond the procedural to value each and every student as an active, investigative participant in the construction of knowledge. Questions arise, though, as to how novice teachers can be encouraged to implement and sustain these flexible interactional practices, given their commonly expressed dislike of mathematics, their lack of content knowledge and of the reasoning processes that nourish its development. Sensitive to our students’ need to be able to recognise themselves as teachers of mathematics, and our need to be able to recognise them as appropriately proficient for teaching, we have introduced a structured program that aims to build an appreciation of (a) mathematics, as a logical, integrated discipline with particular attention given to its inherent pattern and order, and (b) new ways of using and doing mathematics, specifically related to the reasoning processes of representation, justification and generalisation (Ball, 2003). While data presented in this paper demonstrate a measure of success in an on-line numeracy subject (ED1491), further research is needed to clarify the extent to which these particular experiences of a revitalised mathematics in teacher education can have lasting effects on classroom practice.