Department of Mathematics and Statistics
University of New Hampshire
Thursday, February 14, 2013
*How might (preservice) mathematics teachers successfully analyze student's precalculus errors?
Abstract: Teacher preparation at all points along the professional continuum, including mathematics content and methods courses aims to improve teacher knowledge and practice. Yet, the link between knowledge and teaching is not well-understood and is generally described via proxies. “The proxies fail to establish what knowledge teachers have and use and the measures of effectiveness say nothing about how teachers use their knowledge in practice” (Mcrory, et al., 2012, p. 585). Teacher knowledge of content and students is important, but only insomuch as they are able to draw upon it at appropriate times. That is, the knowledge is only important if it is appropriately situated within the context of the work of teaching (Borko, et al., 2000). Error analysis has a long history in mathematics (Radatz, 1979) with both teachers and researchers recognizing its value, especially important is teachers’ ability to develop an accurate representation of students knowledge and misconceptions (Brown & Burton, 1978). Yet, there is a fundamental lack of understanding about what knowledge teachers draw upon in error analysis (Sfard, 2008). As a result, this study attempts to move beyond the extant literature by investigating how preservice teachers draw on their knowledge of mathematics and students in the analysis of students’ mathematical work in the context of a pre-calculus class.