Developing student teachers' deep understanding of mathematics
This pilot involved tutors and students at the University of Winchester, a Hampshire local authority (LA) consultant, and four Hampshire primary schools.
Aim of the pilot
We recognise the need for teachers to have a deep understanding of mathematics for effective teaching, but like all providers of initial teacher education (ITE), we struggle to find enough time to develop this level of understanding across the full primary mathematics curriculum (Williams 2008 para. 242–243), therefore our core aim was:
to develop an effective model of additional, school-based learning to improve student teachers' deep understanding of mathematics.
Intended impact on learning: student teachers
improved subject knowledge, pedagogical knowledge and curriculum knowledge of mathematics
improved attitudes towards mathematics
more confident, enthusiastic teachers of mathematics.
Intended impact on learning: primary teachers and university tutors
an effective, manageable and replicable model of additional, school-based learning
clarity about what constitutes a deep understanding of mathematics
a greater coherence between school and university-based learning
a greater sense of partnership between schools and the university in the development of ITE.
Intended impact on our work with the LA
A greater coherence and sense of partnership in our efforts to develop pre-service and in-service support for effective mathematics teaching.
The difference it made
Our research evidence suggests that the pilot had a positive impact on the following:
student teachers' deep understanding of mathematics
student teachers' confidence and enthusiasm for learning and teaching mathematics
the sense of partnership, shared understandings and expectations between the university, schools and the LA in the task of promoting effective mathematics teaching.
At the post-pilot review meeting, one teacher summarised our shared feelings: 'This has been a very positive experience for all of us.'