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Theory-enriched practical knowledge in mathematics teacher education

This study looks at the question of how and at what level students in primary teacher education can integrate theory and practice, and how the organisation of their learning environment, focusing especially on mathematics and pedagogy, can contribute to that.

Wil Oonk
23 June 2009
Fulltext in Leiden University Repository

An instrument has been developed allowing the unambiguous description of the use of theory by students, using the variables nature (four categories: factual description, interpreting, explaining, responding to) and level (three levels of relations between concepts) of theory use. The instrument can be used both for sounding and assessment purposes. It turns out that nearly all students can integrate theory and practice in a natural way through gaining so-called theory-enriched practical knowledge. This takes place in an adequately equipped multimedia learning environment that is focused on integrating theory and practice. In such a situation, students mainly use theory to analyse practice or to respond to practical situations. There are however significant differences, that are among other things expressed in the relation between nature and level of theory use and the variables study year, prior education and numeracy of students. Rises in level of theory use by students turn out to occur mostly during interaction that is led by the teacher educator. Among other things, the results of the study point towards the need for extra pedagogical measures for those students with 'mbo-zonder wiskunde'(senior secondary vocational education without mathematics) as their prior education, as well as for student teachers with prior education 'vwo with mathematics' (pre-university education with mathematics).

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