Academic journal article International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education

How Preservice Teachers Use Children's Literature to Teach Mathematical Concepts: Focus on Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching

Academic journal article International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education

How Preservice Teachers Use Children's Literature to Teach Mathematical Concepts: Focus on Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching

Article excerpt

Introduction

The purpose of this descriptive study was to examine how teacher candidates design and enact mathematics lessons integrating children's literature. Data for this study were gathered from observations and written work of preservice teacher candidates as they developed and taught a mathematics lesson that integrated children's literature. The analysis in this study focuses on the ways in which teacher candidates approach the use of children's literature, how they plan mathematical tasks that incorporate children's literature, and the mathematical content of the tasks they design. The intent is to describe how the teacher candidates interact with the text, mathematical content, and pedagogical knowledge as they design tasks for use with students in their student teaching practicum semester. Teacher candidates were asked to develop and teach their own mathematics lesson that incorporated children's literature as a regular assignment in their methods of teaching mathematics course. Lesson plans and reflections written by teacher candidates as well as observations of enacted lessons were used in developing case studies for three groups of students. The data were analyzed using three criteria from the Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching (MKT) framework described by Ball, Thames, and Phelps (2008), that of knowledge of content and students (KCS), knowledge of content and teaching (KCT), and knowledge of content and curriculum (KCC).

Existing research examines the ways in which teacher candidates and novice teachers view and use mathematics curriculum as well as how the integration of children's literature in mathematics teaching and learning affects teachers' pedagogy, student engagement, and mathematical discourse. Published studies have not yet examined how teacher candidates use children's literature in mathematics teaching and learning with a specific focus on mathematical knowledge for teaching (MKT) (Ball et al., 2008). This study contributes to the body of professional knowledge on mathematical knowledge for teaching and teachers' use of curriculum materials as it examines how teachers use supplementary curriculum materials such as children's literature. Many elementary mathematics curricula include lists of children's literature for use in various lessons, however few provide adequate support for preservice teacher candidates or those teachers with weak mathematical knowledge for teaching to be able to effectively use such resources (Hill & Charalambous, 2012). This study examined how candidates decided which resources to use and how they enacted mathematics lessons with those resources.

In this report I use the term candidates to denote preservice elementary teachers. Students refers to the participants or learners in a lesson (either children or the other candidates during enacted lessons), and teachers indicates the person or people leading the lesson. Children's literature is defined in this study as illustrated books whose primary audience are children and which can be read aloud in 20 minutes or less. Finally, methods course refers to a methods of teaching mathematics course for Elementary Education majors.

Background

Candidates and Curriculum

Candidates have a complicated relationship with mathematics curricula. A focus on the analysis of curriculum may mistakenly lead candidates to believe that good teaching is synonymous with avoiding the use of the assigned textbook to guide instruction in the classroom (Nicol & Crespo, 2006). In contrast, candidates may have little choice in the matter and without experience in the critical evaluation of curriculum they may rely on faulty materials (Nicol & Crespo, 2006). Research on the use of curriculum focuses on the context in which teachers use textbooks, how curricula are used to promote instructional change and innovation, and how teachers learn to use various curricula (Frykholm, 2004; Remillard & Bryans, 2004; Stein, Remillard, & Smith, 2007; Van Zoest & Bohl, 2002). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.