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Topic: Mathematics teacher training-elementary level
Replies: 2   Last Post: Jul 24, 1995 5:26 PM

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Marian Small

Posts: 3
Registered: 12/6/04
Mathematics teacher training-elementary level
Posted: Jul 24, 1995 7:10 AM
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I have been reading the various posts that discuss the appropriate training
for mathematics teachers at both the elementary and secondary levels. My
university, the University of New Brunswick in Canada, had previously
required elementary candidates to take 4 full semester courses in math/math
education, but all taught by education professors. The first two courses
were designed to teach mathematics to these students in the way that we
would like them to teach. Topics covered included some geometry, some
probability, some number theory and examination of problem solving
strategies typically used in mathematics as well as a conceptual
understanding of the mathematics underlying the whole numbers, fractions
and decimals they would be teaching. The second two courses included a
methods course which was topic based (e.g. time on multiplication, on
addition, etc.) as well as a methods course which was issues based (e.g.
assessment, critical examination of available resources, uses of technology
in teaching mathematics, etc.).The topic based course also included a field
based component with selected local teachers where the students, in pairs,
taught young students.

This had been the pattern for the last 20 years. What we found was that
quite a number of students were very upset in the first two courses. In
fact, several said that they would have preferred a calculus requirement
since you just had to do what they said and not always be "thinking". But
when I gathered anonymous information at the end of the 4 years, virtually
every student felt that the experience had made an essential difference.
They needed to see math taught in a different way before they could do it.
In theory, this could have been done in the math department, but this only
works if there is a will there to teach that way.

Interestingly enough, we have moved to a new program where students will
only be required to do one methods course and no content courses in math at
all. My colleagues tell me that a liberal arts background is enough.

What do you think is a reasonable amount and type of training for these

Marian Small
Faculty of Education
University of New Brunswick
Bag Service #45333
Fredericton, N.B.

Phone: (506) 453-3500 Fax: (506) 453-3569 e-mail:

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