Topics in Mathematical Education: Theory and Practice

An undergraduate degree in mathematics or statistics provides the material background for high-school teaching, but it rarely provides the knowledge and experiences necessary for students to make an informed career choice or to make them attractive applicants to a Faculty of Education. Similarly, an undergraduate degree does not provide the practical experience that would enable students interested in post-secondary teaching to determine their suitability for such a career. One of the aims of this course is to provide appropriate practical experience by means of a supervised teaching practicum in one of the department's laboratories or approved courses. Through a variety of projects and seminar presentations, students will study in depth the roots of some of the areas of mathematics, such as calculus, finite mathematics and linear algebra, included in the senior secondary and undergraduate curriculum. As well, we will discuss some important current issues in mathematics education such as how students learn mathematics, how mathematics is constructed, and the role of language, problem solving, visualization, and technology in the learning of mathematics.

The course format and workload are non-traditional for a half-course in that they are spread over the full academic year. This means that in each two week period throughout the fall and winter terms, students will be expected to participate in one two-hour seminar, work as a tutor for four hours, and spend an additional three to four hours on course preparation, assignments and other activities including reflecting on their teaching experience with a colleague in the course. The first seminar meeting will be held in the first week of the fall term.

The final grade will be based on a combination of seminar presentations, projects, responses to readings, and a final paper. The teaching practice will be assessed on a pass/fail basis and students will be required to pass this component in order to pass the course.

There will be no required text for the course. Instead a kit of selected readings from the mathematics education literature will be provided for purchase.