Advanced Mathematics in Support of Secondary School Teaching

Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG)

Grant recipient: Rina Zazkis, Faculty of Education

Project team: Ofer Marmur, research assistant

Timeframe: August 2017 to September 2018

Funding: $6000

Course addressed: MATH 603 – Foundations of Mathematics

Final report: View Rina Zazkis' final report (PDF)

Description: In my teaching of MATH 603 I attempt to extend students’ understanding of several foundational topics in mathematics. However, while I believe that such understanding has an influence on one’s teaching, it is unclear if my students share this belief and whether this belief changes during the course. In addition, while students may suggest that their (enhanced) mathematical knowledge is “very important” in their teaching, experience shows that particular examples of knowledge use are hard to come by. By involving students in imagined scenarios in which their mathematical knowledge can be used I intend to find out whether and how they access the needed mathematical knowledge in a teaching situation.

Questions addressed:

  • How do students (who are secondary school teachers) perceive the applicability of their knowledge of mathematics (beyond school curriculum) in their teaching?
  • How do students react to particular scenarios in which advanced understanding is potentially useful?
  • Does my course change students’ views on knowledge applicability  and/or extend their repertoire of examples?

Knowledge sharing: I will share the results with mathematics education colleagues at one of our meetings. I will also share results at a Canadian Mathematics Education Study Group (CMESG) conference

Zazkis, R. & Marmur, O. (2018). Scripting tasks as a springboard for extending prospective teachers’ examples spaces: A case of generating functions. Canadian Journal of Science Mathematics and Technology Education, 18(4), 291–312.

Zazkis, R. & Marmur, O. (2019). Example spaces for functions: Variations on a theme. In A. Weinberg, D. Moore-Russo, H. Soto, & M. Wawro (Eds.), Proceedings of the 22nd Annual Conference on Research in Undergraduate Mathematics Education (pp.402-410). Oklahoma City, OK.

Keywords: advanced mathematical knowledge; mathematics teaching