Academic journal article Education

Integrative Pre-Service Elementary Teacher Training: The Role of Interdisciplinary Collaborative Mathematics

Academic journal article Education

Integrative Pre-Service Elementary Teacher Training: The Role of Interdisciplinary Collaborative Mathematics

Article excerpt

Introduction

Teacher preparation programs train pre-service teachers, those preparing to teach in a classroom, to apply the content knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions they have learned in their university-based courses to classroom practice. However, according to Blackboum, Bunch, Fillingim, Schillinger, and Dupree (n.d.):

   ... too often [pre-service] teachers
   matriculate through a [teacher preparation]
   program, earn excellent grades
   (even honors), yet find when they enter
   the world of the public schools that
   much of what they were exposed [to]
   and incorporated into their teaching
   repertoire is difficult to connect to actual
   classroom practice, (p. 149)

This primer summaries interdisciplinary collaborative mathematics as an integrative approach, utilizing Junior Achievement USA (JA) educational programs within an elementary Math Methods course to train pre-service elementary teachers to teach math. An interdisciplinary collaborative mathematics approach offers a progression of multi-dimensional experiences for training pre-service elementary teachers to transition into successful classroom teachers who can plan lessons, deliver instruction, implement classroom management skills, and model professional dispositions to effectively teach math.

An interdisciplinary collaborative mathematics approach applied within an elementary Math Methods course offers a myriad of learning opportunities for pre-service elementary teachers to apply the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions that are taught in the Math Methods course to varied classroom field experiences of their choosing. These opportunities include developing and evaluating math curricular materials, teaching and managing whole class instruction, collaborating with colleagues, and practicing professional dispositions with other classroom teachers and principals. The ensuing pages highlight important features of an interdisciplinary collaborative mathematics approach within four organizational sections: (1) Junior Achievement history and educational program overview, (2) interdisciplinary collaborative mathematics approach defined, (3) interdisciplinary collaborative mathematics implementation work-plan, and (4) conclusion.

Junior Achievement History and Educational Program Overview

JA History

JA is the world's largest organization that educates grade K-12 students about entrepreneurship, work-readiness, and financial literacy. It was founded nearly a century ago in 1919 by Theodore Vail, President of American Telephone and Telegraph; Horace Moses, President of the Strathmore Paper Company; and Senator Murray Crane of Massachusetts (Junior Achievement [JA] of Chicago, 20132014). Its first program, JA Company Program,[R] was offered exclusively to high school students on an after-school basis for the purpose of introducing teenagers to the concepts of business and manufacturing so that, "once, they were old enough to enter the workforce, they would possess the skills needed to succeed in industrialized cities" (JA of Chicago, 2013-2014, p. 3). In 1975, JA introduced Project Business to the middle grades. Over the last thirty-nine years, JA has expanded its scope and activities to include both in school and after-school student programs for grades K-12. To date, JA has grown into incorporating more than 112,000 of its volunteers in U.S. classrooms, reaching approximately four million students in grades K-12 annually (JA of Chicago, 2013-2014). In addition, JA has international affiliates reaching over five million students in more than 100 countries worldwide (JA of Chicago, 2013-2014).

JA Educational Program Overview

JA programs focus on financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship, using a multidisciplinary approach to learning. JA's multidisciplinary programs link information across social studies disciplines, including economics, geography, history, government, and civics, while incorporating mathematical concepts, reasoning, and language-arts skills. …

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