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Mathematics teachers' conceptions about equations
University of Gävle, Department of Mathematics, Natural and Computer Sciences, Ämnesavdelningen för matematik och statistik.
2006 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this study is to describe and to clarify the mathematics teachers’ subject matter and pedagogical content conceptions about equations. As the basis of these conceptions, the teachers’ experiences of the concept learning of equations from their own school time are described. The early research of conceptions has been concentrated on pupils’ conceptions of the topic as a contrast to scientific conceptions since the middle of the 1970s. Research of teachers’ conceptions of mathematics and mathematics teaching and learning has grown during the last decade. However, in these studies teachers’ conceptions of a specific content area in mathematics have not been investigated. In the theoretical background of the research, different traditions of school mathematics learning and teaching are treated. By using theories of experiential learning, it has been possible to study such learning situations and experiences, which may lead to the development of subjective conceptions of mathematical concepts. In order to understand difficulties concerning the concept formation in mathematics the theory of the concept image and the concept definition as well as the theory based on the duality of mathematical concepts have been studied. The acquired experiences from school time seem to lay the basis of both the teachers’ subject matter and pedagogical content-specific conceptions and decisions. Different components in teacher knowledge base together with current research both in teachers’ subject matter and pedagogical content knowledge are therefore presented at the end of the theoretical framework. By combining different kinds of methods like questionnaires, recorded interviews, videotape recording of six lessons in mathematics and observations the research empirical material was collected. In this investigation, five novice, five expert and 75 student teachers in mathematics participated. The preliminary investigation included 30 student teachers. In the study the phenomenographic approach is used in order to reveal differences between the teachers’ conceptions and experiences about equations. The research results indicate that equations are not apprehended as complete, static objects. Conceptions about equations reveal that equations are closely related to the symbols x and y and solving procedures. The teachers’ experiences of learning and teaching of mathematics may have formed their conceptions. The conceptions about equations seem to be based on the teachers’ experiences in arithmetic and their first impressions of learning the process of solving equations. The teachers apprehend equation teaching as a study of procedures rather than as a study of central ideas and concepts of algebra. Both aspects are however equally important at compulsory school, since the teaching of algebra should develop pupils’ ability both to use and to understand the basic algebraic concepts. Some of the teachers do not have a clear conception what the pupils should attain in algebra at compulsory school according to the specific goals in Swedish mathematics curriculum. The research results further show that both the expert and the novice teachers have various apprehensions of the pupils’ difficulties concerning equations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Helsinki: University of Helsinki , 2006. , 233 p.
Series
Research report / University of Helsinki, Department of Applied Sciences of Education, ISSN 1795-2158 ; 266
Keyword [en]
algebra, conception, equation, learning, mathematics teacher
National Category
Didactics Mathematics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-867ISBN: 952-10-2696-0 (print)ISBN: 952-10-2978-1 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-867DiVA: diva2:117529
Available from: 2008-06-12 Created: 2008-06-12 Last updated: 2010-11-25Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Citation style
  • apa
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  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
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Language
  • sv-SE
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