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Proceedings of the Redesigning pedagogy: culture, knowledge and understanding conference, Singapore, May 2007.
The study reported in this paper explored three secondary mathematics teachers’ conceptions of functions and their related pedagogical content knowledge. Do teachers view functions as structural objects or do they perceive functions purely from a procedural orientation? How do these teachers’ orientations influence their teaching? The interpretative paradigm underlying this study is complemented by uncovering the nature of the teachers’ conceptions about functions through an open-ended questionnaire and a classification task. The teachers were interviewed to understand their pedagogical practices.
The study found that the experienced teachers were able to recognize the dual nature of functions and even regarded the dual conceptions as complementary. On the other hand, the novice teacher held a predominantly operational conception of functions and his process-oriented approach was not helpful in moving students towards a broader view of functions as a dynamic object. The ability to recognize the dual nature of mathematics concepts is crucial
for the learning of mathematics and these preliminary findings have significant implications on professional teacher development. The paper concludes with suggestions how to sensitize teachers to the dual nature of mathematical concepts - knowledge vital to help improve pedagogical practice. The improved pedagogical practice may help more students advance to higher mathematics with a broader view of mathematical concepts.
Appears in Collections:CRPP - Conference Papers

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