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An Investigation of pre-service middle school mathematics teachers‟ ability to connect the mathematics in content courses with the middle school mathematics

Dilberoğlu, Merve
This study investigated if and how preservice middle school mathematics teachers related the mathematical knowledge addressed in general mathematics content courses in a four-year teacher education program to their future teaching of middle school mathematics. The study involved two interrelated sections. On one hand, preservice middle school mathematics teachers' views on the issue were gathered through asking open-ended questions via a semi-structured interview protocol. On the other hand, their performance on a structured task-based interview was observed in order to find out how they utilized their mathematical knowledge of number theory concepts developed in the specific course Basic Algebraic Structures in conducting mathematical tasks of teaching. Semi-structured interview protocol and structured task-based interview protocol were prepared by the researcher. Participants of the study were 14 preservice middle school mathematics teachers who were enrolled in 3rd and 4th years of the teacher education program. Findings revealed that preservice teachers had conflicting views about the content courses. They considered the mathematics learned in general content courses as higher level, irrelevant to middle school mathematics and not applicable to teaching of middle school mathematics, but also as constituting the base for middle school mathematics. Participants' work on the four mathematical tasks of teaching provided several perspectives on the extent to which they were able to use their knowledge from Basic Algebraic Structures course in the teaching of middle school mathematics. Although the participants were selected from among the most competent ones in the Basic Algebraic Structures course and also in teaching related courses, many of them had difficulties with relating their mathematical knowledge from the course to given teaching tasks.