Symposium: Mathematical Preparation of Teachers

Pat Thompson, Ph.D.
Arizona State University

Dr. Pat Thompson is a Professor of Mathematics Education in the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences at Arizona State University. Pat has had a long career in mathematics education. The central theme of his professional work and research is to improve the learning and teaching of mathematics at all levels through multiple research threads. His research has focused on (a) understanding the processes of communication, miscommunication, and mutual influence among participants in instructional settings, (b) conceptual analyses of mathematical ideas as constituted through conceptual, operational schemes, (c) analyses of students' and teachers' thinking as they interact in contexts that support the emergence of these schemes, and (d) the design of artifacts that support students' and teachers' participation in these interactions. An important part of this research was to develop insights into what constitutes "productive" and "powerful" understandings of mathematical ideas that are complemented by investigating ways students develop them in instructional contexts that are designed to produce them. To date he has had some success in this endeavor in the areas of addition/subtraction/numeration, complex additive reasoning, fractions, ratio and rate, algebra, functions, probability/statistics, and calculus. His professional work has been to incorporate these research themes into the design of teachers' mathematical and professional preparation and into the design of professional development programs for high school and college mathematics instructors.

Overview of the symposium

The symposium is organized into two sessions. The first is a workshop where Professor Thompson will discuss with the Ph.D. students and faculty issues about teacher education and teaching knowledge and how existing theories and methodologies of mathematics education shape our understanding of those issues. The second session is a plenary talk where Professor Thompson will discuss the difference between Mathematical Meanings for Teaching (MMT) and Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching (MKT), and the ways in which a focus on MMT gives greater support for the design of teacher preparation and teacher professional development.

Click here for information on the second session of the symposium, the Plenary talk