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Student teachers’ attitudes towards subject knowledge and teaching in mathematics: The importance of understanding. Patrick Barmby School of Education & CEM. Context for the research. BA degree in Primary Education Support for less confident students. Background - Teacher Knowledge.
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School of Education & CEM
“With Aristotle we declare that the ultimate test of understanding rests with the ability to transform one’s knowledge into teaching. Those who can, do. Those who understand, teach.” (p.14)
“I know it sounds daft, but I feel like I have cheated my way through. I feel like I don’t understand what I am doing, and then I suddenly get the right answer!”
“When it comes to doing good old fashioned addition, subtraction, multiplication … I had every question written down. I had the answers to all my sums on the board, little post-it notes. It went alright but I would never be able to get up there and just explain something”
“I don’t know if I will be able to explain how I have done it and I don’t really have a reason for doing it that way”
“When it came to teaching it, I found it quite difficult to explain what I knew. I accept rules and … I apply it and it works. Trying to explain that to children, I found it at first a bit like, ‘how am I going to break down what I just accept?’ ... But by the end of my placement this year, I felt much more confident in doing that. I would start to go back over what I knew and figure out how I had learnt it and how I had come to the point to be just doing it, which helped when it came to teaching it”
“I think I am quite good at teaching as well, because I teach them in a way that I understood it. I know different ways of doing it as well. So no matter which way they give it to me, I can see different ways of doing it as well”
“The second time round there was a lot more different methods. When I did it the first time round, there was the same way of doing it and if you didn’t get it, you learnt how to. Whereas now, there seems to be three or four methods of doing the one task”
“I do not know how I would respond if it was something that I had to revise before I went into the classroom”
“Although I know I have the subject knowledge to be able to teach to the children, I feel as if sometimes, although I have learnt so much on the course, I have not learnt things like, how to teach it, how to do the addition and the subtraction and how they are doing it in schools”
“It is not that I would not be able explain it to somebody, because I do know what is going on. But it is how you explain it to them, because when you know, like if you ask a child a question, and you know the answer, if they don’t get one bit of it, you’re like ‘why don’t they get it?’ … I think that is the tricky part”