Thursday, August 6, 2009

Article: Teacher education through the history of mathematics

Fulvia Furinghetti: Teacher education through the history of mathematics, Educational studies in mathematics (2007) 66: 131-143.

Teacher students have a tendency to reproduce the teaching styles that they have themselves experienced when they were pupils. And then, when they start in their first job as teachers, they will have a tendency to learn from their older colleagues. These two tendencies have a conservative effect on teaching.

In this article, the author discusses how history of mathematics can be a part of teacher education in a way that will work against the first tendency mentioned above. "Prospective teachers need a context allowing them to look at the topics they will teach in a different manner", she argues.

The history of mathematics was not taught as a goal in itself, but rather as "a mediator of knowledge for teaching". The students had "difficulties in considering ways of teaching a given mathematical topic other than the way that they have seen it in their school days", but by working on a teaching segment on algebra and the history of algebra in that context, they were helped to find new ways.

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