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Unpacking Division to Build Teachers' Mathematical Knowledge


"The mathematical knowledge needed for teaching differs from what is needed for other occupations in that the knowledge must be usable in the practice of teaching whether selecting instructional tasks, representing ideas, orchestrating a class discussion, or evaluating students verbal or written responses (Ball 2003). This requires the unpacking of ones compressed knowledge and bringing it to the surface for examination.

One approach to surfacing this knowledge is by engaging teachers in core tasks and then using their own work as sites for discussion. In particular, we have found that asking teachers to generate their own alternative computational strategies productive in revealing strengths and gaps in their current understandings. Then their packages of mathematical knowledge can be further developed and become more accessible as a mathematical resource for teaching."