Improving Teaching, Improving Learning, Improving as a Teacher : Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching as an Object of Learning

Abstract: This thesis concerns teaching in mathematics teacher education and is based on the implementation of a learning study at teacher training. The overall purpose was to investigate in what way teacher training could facilitate and improve student teachers’ Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching (MKT). In the learning study design, MKT was conceptualized as an object of learning with a meta-character, which meant that it was applicable to and transferable between different content areas of mathematics. This made it possible to vary the mathematical content between lessons but to keep the object of learning constant. Four critical features of the object of learning were found, giving insight in some of the problems related to teacher education. Student teachers had to be able to formulate proper aims for a lesson and to give detailed descriptions of elements of MKT for coherence in their MKT to occur. A focus on student teachers’ role as mathematics teachers had to be established and finally, sufficient mathematical knowledge was found to be a prerequisite for their MKT to develop. The study shows that enactment of these critical features improved the teaching by the teacher educators, which in its turn improved the student teachers’ learning with regard to MKT. The study also indicates that the prescribed design is worth considering for future collaborative efforts of improving teaching where other objects of learning with a similar meta-character are involved.