ERIC Number: ED472720
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997-Apr
Defining Optimal Knowledge for Teaching Science and Mathematics. Research Monograph.
This paper raises the question of what K-12 teachers need to know in order to teach mathematics and science well. It begins by examining reform proposals for K-12 science and mathematics teaching with an eye toward defining what "good" teaching practice consists of. It then examines a wide range of literature to delineate the varieties of knowledge that have been associated with this kind of teaching. While the focus is on subject matter knowledge, the paper addressed the character of that knowledge rather than the content of that knowledge. Types of knowledge identified in the literature include conceptual understanding of the subject, pedagogical content knowledge, beliefs about the nature of work in science and mathematics, attitudes toward these subjects, and actual teaching practices with students. The literature is incomplete with respect to which of these is relatively more or relatively less important. Although the United States does not have a national curriculum, many organizations are working together to achieve an agreed-upon set of goals for science and mathematics teaching and learning. Contemporary education leaders in general, and science and mathematics leaders in particular, have distinct ideas about the best directions for K-12 science and mathematics education and about teachers and teacher education that follow from these goals. This paper examines these proposals and outlines the kinds of subject matter knowledge that teachers need to learn during higher education in science and mathematics. For the analysis that follows, I am less interested in science and mathematics curriculum proposals than in science and mathematics teaching proposals, for embedded in these proposals are indications of what future science and mathematics teachers should be learning from their college-level science and mathematics courses. I shall review the national standards to determine what they define as good science and mathematics teaching and then shall review the associated literature to derive some ideas about what good science and mathematics teachers would need to know or think to teach in the ways reformers demand. (Contains 47 references.) (Author)
Descriptors: Educational Change, Elementary Secondary Education, Mathematics Instruction, Pedagogical Content Knowledge, Science Teachers, Standards, Teacher Attitudes
National Institute for Science Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1025 W. Johnson Street, Madison, WI 53706. Tel: 608-263-9250; Fax: 608-262-7428; e-mail: email@example.com; Web site: http:// www.wcer.wisc.edu/nise/publications.
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA.
Authoring Institution: National Inst. for Science Education, Madison, WI.