ERIC Number: EJ798120
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
What ''Counts'' as Algebra in the Eyes of Preservice Elementary Teachers?
Stephens, Ana C.
Journal of Mathematical Behavior, v27 n1 p33-47 2008
This study examined conceptions of algebra held by 30 preservice elementary teachers. In addition to exploring participants' general ''definitions'' of algebra, this study examined, in particular, their analyses of tasks designed to engage students in relational thinking or a deep understanding of the equal sign as well as student work on these tasks. Findings from this study suggest that preservice elementary teachers' conceptions of algebra as subject matter are rather narrow. Most preservice teachers equated algebra with the manipulation of symbols. Very few identified other forms of reasoning--in particular, relational thinking--with the algebra label. Several participants made comments implying that student strategies that demonstrate traditional symbol manipulation might be valued more than those that demonstrate relational thinking, suggesting that what is viewed as algebra is what will be valued in the classroom. This possibility, along with implications for mathematics teacher education, will be discussed. (Contains 2 tables and 1 figure.)
Descriptors: Preservice Teacher Education, Preservice Teachers, Symbols (Mathematics), Mathematics Teachers, Algebra, Elementary School Teachers, Mathematical Concepts, Mathematical Logic, Teaching Methods, Thinking Skills, Mathematics Instruction
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Education; Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A