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Teaching (un)Connected Mathematics: Two teachers' enactment of the Pizza problem

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Abstract:

This paper documents the ways mathematical knowledge for teaching (MKT) and curriculum materials appear to contribute to the enactment of a 7th grade Connected Mathematics Project lesson on comparing ratios. Two teachers with widely differing MKT scores are compared teaching this lesson. The comparison of the teachers' lesson enactments suggests that MKT appears to contribute to the mathematical richness of the lesson, teacher ability to capitalize on student ideas, and capacity to emphasize and link key mathematical ideas; yet the relationship of MKT to whether and how students participated in mathematical reasoning was more equivocal. Curriculum materials seemed to contribute to instructional quality, in that the novel tasks contained in the curriculum laid the groundwork for in-depth student problem-solving experiences; they also prevented the low-MKT teacher from making a mathematical error. At the same time, these ambitious materials influenced enactment because of the difficulties they caused teachers: the lesson's tasks needed to be ‘repaired' to enable students to engage with the main mathematical ideas, and off-track student responses to these tasks required remediation. Only the higher-MKT teacher was successfully able to meet the challenge, a finding suggestive of the confluence of MKT and the curriculum materials in informing instructional quality.

Keywords: curriculum materials; mathematics; ratios; teacher knowledge; teaching quality

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00220272.2012.716972

Publication date: August 1, 2012

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