An investigation of development of prospective elementary teachers’ knowledge to teach algebra in early grades through case discussions

2021-9-3
Öztürk, Nejla
The purpose of this study was to investigate the development of prospective elementary teachers’ subject matter and pedagogical content knowledge for teaching algebra in elementary grades. Prospective elementary teachers attended a 5-week (10 hours) intervention as part of a method course, Teaching Mathematics I, that was designed based on case discussions. The participants of the study were nine third-year students who were enrolled in the course in the 2020-2021 fall semester as a must course of the undergraduate primary school education program in a private university. During the last 5 weeks of the 12-week course, the prospective elementary teachers were presented with the big ideas of equivalence and equations, generalized arithmetic, and functional thinking as the content of early algebra through text-based classroom cases. In these lessons, the prospective teachers were asked to discuss students’ thinking, the teacher’s instructions, and the tasks in the given classroom cases. Data were collected through one-hour individual interviews before and after the early algebra lessons. The interview questions were adapted from the related literature to examine prospective elementary teachers’ subject matter and pedagogical content knowledge. Qualitative methods were used to analyze data. The analysis of the pre-interviews indicated that prospective elementary teachers did not have the required subject matter knowledge to guide algebraic thinking in elementary grades, such as the relational meaning of the equal sign, generalizing, representing, or justifying arithmetic or functional relationships and reasoning with them. Similarly, they were found not to have sufficient pedagogical content knowledge related to students’ conception/misconceptions and appropriate instruction to foster early algebra. However, after the early algebra lessons based on case discussions, the prospective elementary teachers were found to progress in various aspects of teaching algebra in early grades, as both subject matter and pedagogical content knowledge related to teaching.

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Citation Formats
N. Öztürk, “An investigation of development of prospective elementary teachers’ knowledge to teach algebra in early grades through case discussions,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2021.