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What Did Jenny Need to Know to Do What She Did? Pedagogical Content Knowledge for Mathematics in Action

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Building on Shulman’s (1986, 1987) construct of Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK), Ball and colleagues (Ball, Thames & Phelps, 2008) created a model of mathematical knowledge for teaching that differentiates between subject matter knowledge and PCK. The model categorises different types of knowledge within these two domains. In this research Ball et al.’s framework was used to code the knowledge used and connected by a teacher, Jenny, as she taught geometry to her class of 10-11-year-old students over six lessons. The categories of the framework were useful in classifying the knowledge Jenny used though specialised content knowledge was difficult to demark from common content knowledge. There was high connectivity between the Specialised Content Knowledge (SCK), Knowledge of Content and Students (KCS) and Knowledge of Content and Teaching (KCT) Jenny activates. Her responsive teaching style impacted on the nature of the knowledge she needed and on her learning about her students. The article demonstrates that the risk of categorising knowledge, and attempting to measure forms of it, may result in the neglect of the connective and transformative nature of how this knowledge is activated in action.
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Keywords: Geometry; Pedagogical Content Knowledge; mathematical knowledge; pedagogy; teaching style

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 June 2018

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  • Educational Practice and Theory is a bi-annual, independent, refereed journal which, since its launch in 1978, has become an important independent forum for original ideas in education. It publishes innovative and original research in the area. Its focus is both applied and theoretical and it seeks articles from a diverse range of themes and countries.
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