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Reading between the lines: Teaching linear algebra

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Abstract:

This paper compares lessons on linear equations from the same curriculum materials taught by two teachers of different levels of mathematical knowledge for teaching (MKT). The analysis indicates that the mathematical quality of instruction in these two classrooms appears to be a function of differences in MKT. Although the two teachers were teaching from the same curriculum materials, the teacher with higher MKT had more complete and concise ways to describe key concepts, had multiple ways to represent ideas about linear equations, could move nimbly among different mathematical expressions of linear relationships, and gave students a larger role in articulating the mathematical ideas of the lesson. However, curriculum materials seem to have moderated what would otherwise have been larger disparities in the quality of instruction between the two teachers. The lower-MKT teacher made minor mathematical errors, stayed on topic, and defined concepts in reasonably accurate ways when he followed the curriculum materials closely.

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

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00220272.2012.716975

Publication date: 2012-08-01

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