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'No wonder out-of-field teachers struggle!' - Unpacking the thinking of expert teachers


Beswick, K and Fraser, S and Crowley, S, 'No wonder out-of-field teachers struggle!' - Unpacking the thinking of expert teachers, Australian Mathematics Teacher, 72, (4) pp. 16-20. ISSN 0045-0685 (2016) [Refereed Article]

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According to McKenzie, Weldon, Rowley, Murphy and McMillan (2014, p. 67), in 2013, approximately 27% of Australian Year 7—10 mathematics teachers had received no teaching methodology education in mathematics and hence could be considered to be teaching out-of-field. The corresponding figure for science teachers was 20%. Furthermore, the likelihood of students being taught mathematics by an out-of-field teacher is greater in provincial or remote schools compared with metropolitan schools (Office of the Chief Scientist, 2012). Teachers in such rural or remote locations also tend to be less experienced and have limited access to professional learning and the support of expert colleagues compared with their metropolitan colleagues (Lyons, Cooksey, Panizzon, Parnell, & Pegg, 2006). Yet when an expert teacher is available, the task of mentoring out-of-field and less experienced colleagues is often undertaken with little acknowledgement or support. In this paper, we describe the initial stage of developing a framework designed to support out-of-field, less experienced or isolated mathematics and science teachers to make decisions about the use of resources in their teaching. The process highlighted the complexity and extent of the knowledge on which expert teachers draw in making such decisions and thus underscored the enormity of the task of teaching out-of-field. The eventual product, the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics: Critical Appraisal for Teachers (STEMCrAfT) framework has proven useful not only for the target audience, but also as a tool for colleagues who take on a mentoring role. We begin with a brief description of teacher knowledge before describing the project and then presenting what we unearthed about expert teachers’ thinking and knowledge.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:out-of-field teaching, teacher knowledge, STEM, rural and remote education
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Curriculum and pedagogy
Research Field:Mathematics and numeracy curriculum and pedagogy
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Teaching and curriculum
Objective Field:Teacher and instructor development
UTAS Author:Beswick, K (Professor Kim Beswick)
UTAS Author:Fraser, S (Professor Sharon Fraser)
UTAS Author:Crowley, S (Ms Suzanne Crowley)
ID Code:112748
Year Published:2016
Deposited By:Education
Deposited On:2016-11-25
Last Modified:2018-03-18
Downloads:1 View Download Statistics

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