Opportunities in Mathematics Content Courses for Developing Prospective Teachers’ Knowledge About Students

Aina K. Appova

Abstract


I qualitatively reviewed mathematics education literature to offer explicit classroom- based examples and recommendations on the learning opportunities that can be embedded into mathematics content courses, designed specifically for prospective elementary teachers (ePTs), to help develop their knowledge of students and their mathematical thinking, learning, and development. I particularly drew on the articles that outlined the course opportunities that could be embedded by college instructors with little or no prior experience teaching or working with elementary students as well as the articles that did not require direct access to schoolchildren in the course. I provided direct quotes and explicit descriptions as representative classroom examples, documented in the literature, for university faculty to select from and plan for implementation in their own courses. Ultimately, in this review of literature, I argue that university faculty who teach mathematics to ePTs, including those who do not have experiences in K-12 educational settings, have numerous readily available resources and classroom-based examples (from the field) to help them embed course opportunities that focus ePTs’ attention and reflection (directly and indirectly) on students’ mathematical thinking and learning. I also provide research evidence demonstrating that these types of course opportunities help to improve ePTs’ readiness to teach and preparedness to work with schoolchildren, particularly in developing their appreciation for students’ mathematical successes and challenges.


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