Cheryl Beaver, Laurie Burton, Maria Fung and Klay Kruczek discuss their latest book, Resources for Preparing Middle School Mathematics Teachers.
The Mathematics Education of Teachers (MET) document published by the Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences set forth criteria for the preparation of mathematics middle school teachers which made it critical that special programs and courses for this group emerge. This collection of articles is in response to the MET document and the result of several gatherings of mathematics educators and mathematicians training middle school teachers. We, the editors of this volume, under the sponsorship of the Committee on the Mathematical Education of Teachers, organized two contributed paper sessions at the Joint Mathematics Meetings entitled “Content Courses for the Mathematical Education of Middle School Teachers” and “Curriculum Materials for Pre-service Middle School Mathematics Teachers.” We were then approached by the MAA to write a Notes Volume about this topic.
We then solicited abstracts. Those with accepted abstracts submitted papers, which then went through various stages of editing by the four listed editors along with the MAA. The entire process took over three years, which was a bit of a surprise.
We have chosen the articles that appear in this volume for several purposes: to disseminate various middle school programs structures, to detail methods of teaching specific middle school teachers content courses, and to share materials and resources.
We expect that the reader of this volume will be either a faculty member who is new to the teaching of courses for middle school mathematics teachers or a seasoned teacher of pre-service teachers who is interested in trying some new approaches and perhaps starting a middle school program at his or her institution. In either case, we hope that the reader find these expositions beneficial and stimulating.
On a side note, at least one of the editors, Klay, was surprised to learn that the majority of states do not have special programs or licenses designed for the preparation of middle school mathematics teachers. It just seems so natural to see that middle school mathematics teachers need to have all the mathematical and pedagogical training a standard elementary school teacher receives, as well as a deeper understanding of what is being taught at the high school level. This requires thorough background in algebra and geometry and a conceptual knowledge of what occurs in calculus.
Teaching courses for middle school mathematics is a delightful experience because you can assume a solid knowledge and appreciation of mathematics from the pre-service and in-service middle school mathematics teachers (unlike when you teach the foundational mathematics courses for pre-service K – 8 teachers), while still exploring the fun activities typically done in the middle school classroom.
We hope in the future to write books about the courses for middle school mathematics teachers we teach, especially if, across the country, the number of preparation programs designed for middle school mathematics teachers increases.