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Teacher Knowledge As Fundamental To Effective Teaching Practice


"Teachers' conceptual understanding and knowledge is critically important at any level. It follows that when prospective teachers demonstrate limited or confused understanding of the subject knowledge relevant to the lesson, unless rectified, their future students will struggle to make sense of the relevant mathematical concepts. Teachers who are unclear in their own minds about particular mathematical ideas may struggle to teach those ideas and may resort to examples that prevent, rather than help, student development. Teachers' limited knowledge may lead them to misunderstand their students' solutions and may lead them to give feedback that is inappropriate or unhelpful. In short, teachers' fragile subject knowledge often puts boundaries around the ways in which they might develop students' understandings.

On the other hand, teachers with sound knowledge make good sense of mathematical ideas. They develop the flexibility for spotting opportunities that they can use for moving students' understandings forward. When teachers use their knowledge to enhance student learning, they are engaging in effective practice. Not only are they advancing students' understandings, they are also, ultimately, adding value to the wider community of individuals."

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