## Preparing K-12 Mathematics Teachers

by James King, Department of Mathematics, University of Washington

While standard mathematics courses can be quite effective, all students
(and especially those who intend to become teachers) should experience
forms of mathematical learning that are less cut-and-dried than many
courses now are. Effective approaches include discovery methods, working
in groups, significant applications, and large-scale projects, as well as
exposure to historical and cultural aspects of mathematics. The
mathematics curriculum also should include more threads than just the path to
and through calculus.

Students should also have opportunities to learn with technology,
especially for visualization. This does not mean courses
*about* computers or calculators, but courses which
*use* computers or calculators. While applications should
play an important role in mathematics education, they should not
displace the strengths of traditional mathematics, namely the power
of general--yes, even abstract--ideas.

Mathematics departments should do a much better job presenting the
history and the present status of their subject. Some courses should
connect with contemporary mathematics research, even though it is
a difficult challenge to design such courses. All teachers, especially
teachers of mathematics teachers, should find out more about how
mathematics is used in the world of work.

There is far too much mathematics to learn to complete the job of
educating a teacher during an undergraduate or even a graduate program.
It is also too late to wait until Eduction School to begin to think about
ways of learning mathematics. Mathematics teachers must expect that the
job includes life-long learning, so higher education should provide
challenging and stimulating opportunities for adult learning.

We in higher education expect a lot of teachers. Therefore, we have
a great responsibility to practice what we preach and model what we
advocate.

*W. James King, Professor of Mathematics at the University of
Washington, works with teachers to help expand their knowldge of
geometry.*

*To add your voice to this discussion, e-mail comments, letters, and op-ed
articles to: *`extend@stolaf.edu` or click here
if your Web browser is set up for e-mail.

**| ****Home Page |
Previous Page |
Topic Page |
Next Page |
Next Topic | Contents | **

*Last Update: *02/23/96