What is the nature of the knowledge specialist teachers conceive of as deep subject and pedagogical knowledge of primary mathematics?

Donaldson, G. (2014) What is the nature of the knowledge specialist teachers conceive of as deep subject and pedagogical knowledge of primary mathematics? Ed.D. thesis, Canterbury Christ Church University.


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One of the key recommendations of the Williams review of primary mathematics (2008) was for every school to have a primary mathematics specialist teacher (MaST) with ‘deep mathematical subject and pedagogical knowledge’ (Williams, 2008 p. 7). This knowledge would act as a ‘nucleus’ (p.1) for the whole school, with MaSTs supporting the teaching and learning of mathematics across the primary phase. As yet there is no model for the knowledge of these specialist teachers. This study aimed to examine the nature of this knowledge conceived of by a small sample of MaSTs, by conducting interviews as they undertook the role, and after developing it over two years and completing the Masters level training programme. The interviewer identified with the MaSTs the knowledge they conceived that they drew on in their teaching of one aspect of the mathematics curriculum and which they identified as deep subject knowledge. There were common features in this knowledge, which are argued to be indicative of the knowledge of the specialist teachers more generally. These features related to knowledge of progression across the primary phase. The MaSTs perceived that they gained new knowledge of mathematics and pedagogy which enabled them to support other staff but also impacted on their own teaching. The research found only a partial relationship between the current models which articulate the knowledge of primary classroom teachers of mathematics (Rowland et al 2009; Ball et al 2008; Ma, 1999) and the knowledge which MaSTs conceived that they drew on, and identified as deep. The research examined the relationship between the perceived knowledge of these teachers as specialists and class teachers, finding examples of case and strategic knowledge (Shulman, 1986). The MaSTs identified their new knowledge as distinct from that gained by classroom experience and valued the Masters aspects of their training programme.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary Education
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA0101 Elementary mathematics. Arithmetic > QA0135 Study and teaching
Depositing User: Mr Andrew Hudson
Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2014 11:18
Last Modified: 22 Sep 2016 05:15
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/12782

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00