The tertiary training of pre-service teachers is pivotal in their professional preparation and formation as qualified educators. Multiple authors posit that teachers require a development of pedagogical content knowledge, or knowing a variety of ways to present mathematical content and to assist students to deepen their understanding (Chick 2012; Shulman 1987). Emerick, Hirsch & Berry (2003) argue that high quality teachers must possess appropriate mathematical content knowledge, and must also possess considerable background in communicating effectively to students. There are two aims of this educational research. The first is to investigate the self-perceptions of pre-service primary and secondary teachers enrolled in a mathematics education unit as they engage with and consolidate their mathematics content knowledge. The second aim is to explore how these pre-service teachers understand and perceive their ‘readiness’ to undertake such a task, based on their recent tertiary training. Data were collected from participants through the exercise of pre-unit (Phase 1) and post-unit (Phase 2) surveys. Following the completion of Phase 1, participant self-reflections indicated varying degrees of readiness to teach mathematics to upper primary and lower secondary students. Less than half of the sampled participants asserted that they felt confident in teaching mathematics, and almost all participants stressed the need to strengthen both their content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge. This paper will discuss the key findings of Phase 1 in light of the extant literature on the preparation of pre-service mathematics teachers.
Recommended CitationHine, Gregory S.C., Strengthening pre-service teachers’ mathematical content knowledge, Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, 12(4), 2015.