This paper describes the development of a two-course sequence in mathematics content for prospective elementary teachers. Community college and university personnel collaborated to develop a course sequence that would prepare prospective elementary teachers to teach mathematics with an understanding of concepts to support their abstract mathematical knowledge. The strategy was to begin with a broad vision and then focus on the smaller pieces which would achieve that vision. The course changes are validated by documents published by various educational and mathematical groups advocating an increased emphasis on teaching for understanding rather than rote learning. Signiﬁcant change is difﬁcult without support from colleagues and sufﬁcient time, both necessary to the change process. The noteworthy components of Austin Community College’s revised course are a safe environment in which students become independent learners and written communication as an integral part of the course resulting in students who have increased their conceptual understanding. As a result of taking the course, students accept responsibility for their own learning, have increased self-conﬁdence, and show enthusiasm for mathematics. While requiring a major commitment from faculty, the results are well worth the effort.
© Virginia Mathematics and Science Coalition, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0) (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Hannigan, M. and Preston, V.
"Learning to Understand: Mathematical Preparation of Prospective Teachers,"
Journal of Mathematics and Science: Collaborative Explorations: Vol. 1:
2, Article 11.
Available at: https://scholarscompass.vcu.edu/jmsce_vamsc/vol1/iss2/11