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Student teachers’ understanding of fundamentals in mathematics
Mathematics teachers’ subject knowledge
Mathematics teacher education
Mathematics vitality
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Lim-Teo, S. K., Soon, W. M., & Ang, K. C. (2011). Student teachers’ understanding of fundamentals in mathematics. Paper presented at the 8th Southern Hemisphere Conference on Teaching and Learning Undergraduate Mathematics and Statistics, Rotorua, New Zealand, 27 November - 2 December 2011 (pp. 202 – 215). Retrieved from
In the context of teacher education’s emphasis on general pedagogical skills and, in particular, mathematical pedagogical skills, there has been much discussion by mathematics teacher educators on the type and extent of mathematics content knowledge needed by teachers of mathematics for teaching at various school levels. Galbraith, in his 1982 Educational Studies in Mathematics paper, conceptualized and studied the Mathematical Vitality of prospective teachers from different teacher preparation programmes in Australia. For teacher education programs which include disciplinary mathematics, teacher educators at universities need to question and determine the nature of mathematics content knowledge they are developing in their student teachers. The B.Sc (Ed) program in Singapore is a four-year program which prepares primary as well as secondary school teachers. This paper presents the findings of a study on a small sample of student teachers who have taken disciplinary mathematics as a content subject at university level for five semesters. The instrument used, which is a modification of Galbraith’s Mathematical Vitality instrument, tests the student teachers’ understanding of basic mathematical terminology, of fundamental logic of mathematics and of
what constitutes a valid mathematical proof. Of the 20 student teachers, three answered more than half of the 12 items wrongly while eight gave three or fewer wrong answers. The paper will also discuss the responses to individual items, and some implications for the curriculum and teaching of Mathematics to future student teachers.
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