Topic Study Group 29:
The preservice mathematical education of teachers
A309 and A308 Rooms
  • Lim Chap Sam (Malaysia)
  • Lucie Deblois (Canada)
    Université Laval
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Team members:
  • Florenda Gallos (The Philippines)
  • Uwe Gellert (Germany)
  • Maitree Inprasitha (Thailand) and
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TSG 29: The pre-service mathematical education of teachers

The Topic Study Group 29 is designed to gather congress participants who are interested in pre-service mathematical education of elementary and secondary teachers. TSG 29 tries to collect, compare and discuss research experiences with the different practices of mathematical teacher education throughout the world. It seems important to discuss how similar/different are these from the certification or licensure examination for teachers as well as a variety of factors that influence the number and the type of teaching adaptations created by preservice teachers.
Being aware of the possible ambiguity of the name of the topic, we would define here two basic terms: ‘pre-service teacher’ and ‘mathematical education’, followed by the scope and focus of this topic group.

Basic Definition

(a) Pre-service teachers are undergoing preparation to become qualified teachers.
(b) Mathematical education refers to the kinds of mathematical content and knowledge that act as the integral part of the mathematics teacher education.

The Scope

TSG 29 is dedicated to sharing and discussing of significant new trend and development in research and practice about mathematical education of pre-service mathematics teachers. It aims to provide both an overview of the current state-of-the-art as well as outstanding recent research reports from an international perspective.

In order to provide a preliminary orientation to the field of study, some distinctions might be drawn. Above all, there seem to be substantial differences between the mathematical education of elementary and secondary teachers. Other differences relate to forms and sites, to contents and methods, and to agents and aims:

• Forms: Mathematics and mathematics education as consecutive or integrated components of the pre-service education of mathematics teachers.

• Sites: Traditional universities, teacher universities, or teacher training colleges as the providers of the mathematical education of teachers.

• Contents: What kind of mathematics is taught? Is the focus on academic mathematics or school mathematics? Apparently, many secondary mathematics teachers will have studied elements of what has been called ‘advanced mathematics’, whereas most elementary teachers will have studied ‘elementary mathematics’. Mathematics that is labelled as ‘advanced’ can consist of formal and highly abstract mathematics, but it can also be applied mathematics or mathematical modelling. Mathematics that is labelled ‘elementary’ can consist of a systematic introduction into the content knowledge of school mathematics, but it can also be an introduction into current conceptions of school mathematics (e.g. school mathematics as problem solving). Another issue is whether school mathematics is regarded from a higher (or meta-mathematical) advantage point. Is it just knowledge of mathematics or knowledge about mathematics as well, the latter comprising historical, epistemological, philosophical, and sociological knowledge of mathematics?

• Students: Apparently, pre-service teachers enter teacher education programs with quite different mathematical qualifications and expectations as well as social aspirations. Who is attracted and enrolled by teacher education programs? How does mathematical teacher education take these differences into account?

• Instruction methods: The pre-service mathematical education of teachers is often conceived as a transmission of a systematic collection of definitions, theorems, proofs. Alternatively, it might be organised and understood as an introduction into a particular human activity. This issue is strongly related to the weak or strong classification of teachers and learners: Is the mathematics given in lectures or has it to be re-constructed in self-regulated student study groups? How could we engage the relationship between a variety of epistemological position? (e.g. initial pupil position, university students’ position and teacher position).

• Agents: Who is in charge of the pre-service mathematical education of teachers? Mathematicians, experienced mathematics teachers, specialised mathematics teacher educators or didacticians.

• Aims: The particular forms, sites, contents, instruction methods and agents may produce a cumulative effect on the future teachers: In many places, the pre-service mathematical education of secondary teachers shows the tendency to aim implicitly at forming the habits of a mathematician, and not of a mathematics teacher.

Focus of TSG29

The main focus of TSG 29 will be on empirical, as well as theoretical and developmental papers on issues such as:
(1) A comparison of mathematical contents or curriculum of pre-service mathematics education in different countries;
(2) What kind of mathematics could we present to preservice teacher? What mathematical qualifications and expectations are need to teach?
(3) The link or relationship between the kind of mathematics and the role of mathematical experiences of the pre-service mathematical primary and secondary teachers;
(4) The impacts and effectiveness of pre-service mathematical education of teachers;
(5) Innovative and creative approaches of developing mathematical content knowledge of pre-service mathematics teachers

Call for papers

We welcome proposals that deal with all aspects of the above focus and innovative ideas that promote a better mathematical education for pre-service mathematics teacher preparation program.

If you wish to present a paper, please send a text of 4000 words which present the theoretical framework and precise the relationship between the main focus of the TSG29 and your paper, the methodology, the results and the conclusion.
It would be important to submit your text by email as Microsoft Word attachment to before 15 November 2007 to Lim Chap Sam ( or Lucie DeBlois (

The full paper should be submitted as a single file in Microsoft Word format using Times New Roman 11-point font size and single-spacing. Please also include title, author(s), institution, postal address, fax, telephone numbers and email address at the beginning of the abstract. All papers will be peer-reviewed.

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All texts at the end of this page were accepted by a commitee of pairs and were presented

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