Teaching mathematics is ultimately about engaging in mathematics. So teaching mathematics requires attention to the mathematical content as we engage in detailing high-leverage practices. What becomes difficult in a mathematics methods class is to find ways to have the content of the mathematics not sit separately but be interwoven in all that we address with teacher education students. We want teacher education students to be learning content while in methods, to be thinking about what it means as a teacher to be using content knowledge in your teaching, to see all the places where mathematical content makes a difference in understanding the situation and so on. We want the teacher education students to see mathematical content and teaching consistently intertwined.
We see examples of embedding the mathematics in the focus on tasks and how the teacher educators talk about the tasks. We see it in the questions we ask about pedagogy and student thinking. We see it in our response to our students focus on pedagogy. You will see in each of the sites the mathematical content provides the foundation for the pedagogical work.
Sonoma State University
Rick Marks provides a rich example of embedding the content of mathematics throughout an analyses of the teaching of tasks. He starts with content as he asks students to analyses the content of the task posed but then weaves content throughout the remainder of the analyses including what students find in what students say about the mathematics.
University of Michigan
It is the first principle of the work of the Mathematics Methods group… It is a key element in the Mathematics Task framework the teacher education students make use of on Franke’s sites (here she pushes on how the content interacts with the problem posing, the students as they participate and so on.).
We as a mathematics teacher education group talked at length about the role of mathematical content in our methods classes. We looked to see how the websites could help accomplish the goals of learning to teach while not loosing the mathematical content. We looked for particularly rich opportunities to delve in to the mathematics along with the pedagogy. We worried together about how difficult it was to accomplish all the mathematics content one would want in a teacher education program. We recognized that embedding the mathematics content within supporting students to develop their high leverage practices would allow us to help students learn from and in practice in ways that support the continued learning of mathematics.