Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Analysis of Pedagogical Content Knowledge Studies in the Context of Mathematics Education in Turkey: A Meta-Synthesis Study *

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Analysis of Pedagogical Content Knowledge Studies in the Context of Mathematics Education in Turkey: A Meta-Synthesis Study *

Article excerpt

Existing studies conducted on education have aimed to contribute to educational reforms by focusing mostly on students. Both in Turkey and throughout the world, further studies are required to analyze teachers in addition to students, particularly teachers' knowledge base needs further investigation. Educational research should not necessarily be associated only with those conducted by collecting data in the field. Meta-synthesis studies that offer general outlooks on previous studies are also required in the field of education. To address this gap in the literature, this article aims to analyze studies in Turkey that have investigated pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) in the field of mathematics education.

The concept of pedagogical content knowledge was first introduced by Lee S. Shulman at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association in 1985. Shulman (1986) argued that there was an imbalance between content knowledge and general pedagogical knowledge and that no relation had been established between these two types of knowledge; he described this deficiency as the missing paradigm. With an effort to eliminate this deficiency, Shulman (1987) defined PCK as the special combination of content knowledge and pedagogy. Shulman conceptualized PCK in two categories. The first category is the knowledge of teaching strategies and representations that suggest how to organize, represent, and adapt the subjects that are taught. The second category is the knowledge of students' subject understanding at different levels. These two components are the unique professional expertise of teachers who act as the bridge connecting content and pedagogical knowledge.

Despite the fact that Shulman's conceptualization of PCK is considered a cornerstone in the literature, he was later criticized by scholars working in this field. Depaepe, Verschaffel, and Kelchtermans (2013) collected the criticisms directed at Shulman's PCK model under five categories. The first was the lack of a theoretical and empirical basis for the presence of PCK as a separate category in the knowledge base of teachers. The second was related to his static view of PCK as a type of factual knowledge that could be acquired and applied independently from the classroom context. The third criticism arose from the concern of researchers about the possibility of theoretically and empirically distinguishing PCK from content knowledge. The fourth was that Shulman conceptualized PCK in a very narrow framework under two categories. The fifth one relied on the argument that PCK cannot be normative, as it can vary according to culture.

In accordance with the criticisms in the literature, several scholars from different subject areas restructured Shulman's PCK model in different ways in an attempt to clarify the borders between PCK and other types of knowledge. In this context, the first studies on PCK were conducted by Shulman's colleagues (Grossman, 1990; Marks, 1990). Grossman, one colleague of Shulman, expressed PCK, which Shulman had framed too narrowly, by widening it. Grossman (1990) divided PCK into four components: (a) knowledge of students' understanding, (b) knowledge of teaching strategies, (c) knowledge of teaching purposes, and (d) knowledge of curriculum. Grossman expanded Shulman's PCK model by adding knowledge of teaching strategies and knowledge of curriculum as separate components in PCK.

Marks (1990), another colleague of Shulman, divided PCK into four components in light of his empirical study's findings: (a) knowledge of subject matter, (b) knowledge of students' understanding, (d) knowledge of teaching media, such as materials, books, and so on, and (d) knowledge of teaching processes. Marks argued that these four components were not independent from each other but that they intensively interacted with each other. He advocated his argument, expressing that a mathematics teacher, when deciding whether or not the examples of mathematical operations in a course book are sufficient, reflects to a certain extent his/her knowledge of media for content education, knowledge of teaching processes, and knowledge of students' content comprehension. …

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