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International Electronic Journal of Mathematics Education IJM

Vol.6, No.1

Co-Editors-in-Chief Ziya Argn Gazi University, Turkey Ismail O. Zembat United Arab Emirates University, UAE Associate Editor Cengiz Alacac Bilkent University, Turkey Editorial Assistant Hakan andr Gazi University

International Editorial Board Alagic, Mara Arkan, Ahmet Batanero, Carmen Cheung, Kwok-Cheung Clark, Megan Drfler, Willibald Drijvers, Paul English, Lyn Gates, Peter Wichita State University, USA Gazi University, Turkey Universidad de Granada, Spain University of Macau, China Victoria University, New Zealand Universitt Klagenfurt, Austria Utrecht University, Netherlands Queensland Univ. of Technology, Australia University of Nottingham, UK Universidad De Granada, Spain University of Malaya, Malaysia University of The Western Cape, South Africa University of Hong Kong, China University of Georgia, USA University of Leeds, UK Deakin University, Australia University of London, UK Pedagogical Institute of Naberezhnye Chelny, Russian Federation University of Montana, USA University of Melbourne, Australia University of The Witwatersrand, South Africa Nanyang Technological Univ., Singapore Univ. of Southern Queensland, Australia University of Malaya, Malaysia Weizmann Instituite of Science, Israel

International Electronic Journal of Mathematics Education (IJM) is an online academic journal devoted to reflect a variety of research ideas and methods in the field of mathematics education. IJM aims to stimulate discussions at all levels of mathematics education through significant and innovative research. The Journal welcomes articles highlighting empirical as well as theoretical research studies, which have a perspective wider than local or national interest. All contributions are peer reviewed.

Godino, Juan D. Idris, Noraini Julie, Cyril Leun, Frederick K. S. Mewborn, Denise S. Monaghan, John Mousley, Judy

IJM is published three times a year, in February, Noss, Richard July and October by Gkkua Ltd. ti., Turkey. Safuanov, Ildar S. Access to the Journal articles is free to individuals, libraries and institutions through IEJMEs website. Abstracted/Indexed: Sriraman, Bharath Cabells Directory Index, DOAJ, EBSCO, EdNA Stacey, Kaye Online Database, Elsevier, Higher Education Teaching and Learning Journals, Index Copernicus, MathDi. Setati, Mamokgethi Submissions: The manuscripts should be prepared in Microsoft Word and sent to iejme@iejme.com in an e-mail attachment. Submissions must be in English based on the style outlined by Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th edition). Manuscripts should not exceed 30 double-spaced pages in length. They should be prepared on (A4) pages with margins of at least 2.5cm (1 inch) from each side. Each manuscript should have a cover page including the authors names and affiliations, addresses, phone/fax numbers and e-mails with corresponding author information, an abstract of up to 200 words with up-to-five keywords, main text, references, tables, figures and appendices as necessary. Author(s) should write for an international audience.
ISSN 1306-3030

Wong, Khoon Yoong Yevdokimov, Oleksiy Zamri, Sharifah N.A.S. Zehavi, Nurit

Gkkua - All rights reversed. Apart from individual use, no part of this publication may be reproduced or stored in any form or by any means without prior written permission from publisher. www.iejme.com

International Electronic Journal of Mathematics Education IJM

Vol.6, No.1

ARTICLES Editorial Ismail O. Zembat reservice Teachers Learning from an Online, Video-based, P Mathematics Professional Development Resource Jo Towers, Tina Rapke Fostering Young Childrens Spatial Structuring Ability Fenna van Nes, Michiel Doorman Pre-Service and In-Service Teachers Views of the Sources of Students Mathematical Difficulties Erhan Bingolbali, Hatice Akko, Mehmet Fatih Ozmantar, Servet Demir Acknowledgments 60 40 27 5 3

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International Electronic Journal of Mathematics Education IJM

Vol.6, No.1

Editorial Reflections on the Continuing Efforts on Restructuring of IEJME Ismail O. Zembat International Electronic Journal of Mathematics Education (IEJME) as an international journal has been gaining higher prominence in the international community of mathematics educators since the new structure has been in effect. We will briefly reflect on the changes we made in IEJME in this editorial. We receive an increasing number of submissions every month and our acceptance rate is 11% for the past one year. To better address the needs of the authors and reviewers we are in the process of adopting a new online submission system, which we believe will help us inform the authors in a timely manner and enable the authors and the reviewers to track the progress of the articles submitted or waiting to be reviewed in a more organized way. For journal editors, handling the review process is a challenging task that includes assigning appropriate reviewers for the submissions and providing timely, fair and informative reviews (Alacaci, 2010; Zembat, Alacaci, Argun, 2010). Our new online submission and tracking system will foster this practice in a more timely and organized way. One additional feature we are planning to add to the new structure of IEJME is about taking advantage of the online medium (compared to paper based medium): including audiovisual supplementary materials for the published articles such as video clips and animations. Especially for qualitative research studies videos (e.g., of interviews, classroom observations, teaching experiments) and more recently animations (see the February 2011 issue of ZDM, for example, Herbst & Chazan, 2011) are increasingly accompanying research studies. Having even a short video clip attached to an article, we believe, could be more informative than written transcriptions inserted into articles since videos have souls that transcriptions can hardly carry. Videos provide more opportunities for the readers, for example, to track and analyze the reasoning of a student in an interview situation described in a published article. Therefore, we believe that adding this asset to IEJMEs website will be useful to our readers. As we improve IEJME with these new features, we are also in the process of applying for some well-known international indexing services, such as Social Science Citation Index (SSCI). We are aware that such initiative requires much effort but we are willing to take that challenge and do what is needed to be included in SSCI in the near future. As we continue to restructure IEJME, try to improve it to reach a wider readership and create a more useful platform for mathematics educators to exchange their ideas, we, as the editorial panel, have decided to extend our editorial team to get help from two other mathematics educators as associate editors. We are glad to inform you that Erhan Bingolbali and Mehmet Fatih Ozmantar, from the University of Gaziantep, Turkey, have accepted the invitation to help us in governing and improving IEJME, starting March 2011. We believe this change in the editorial panel will help us move IEJME into the top league of journals in mathematics education in the near future.

ISSN 1306-3030

www.iejme.com

Editorial

References Alacaci, C. (2010). Editorial: Publishing in a mathematics education research journal. International Electronic Journal of Mathematics Education, 5(2), 59-60. Herbst, P., & Chazan, D. (2011). Editorial: On creating and using representations of mathematics teaching in research and teacher development; introduction to this issue. ZDM - The international Journal on Mathematics Education, 43(1), 1-5. doi: 10.1007/s11858-011-0306-9 Zembat, I. O., Alacaci, C., & Argun, Z. (2010). Editorial: Restructuring of IEJME. International Electronic Journal of Mathematics Education, 5(1), 4-6 .

International Electronic Journal of Mathematics Education IJM

Vol.6, No.1

Preservice Teachers Learning from an Online, Video-based, Mathematics Professional Development Resource Jo Towers & Tina Rapke University of Calgary
This article presents the findings of a study of preservice teachers unstructured engagements with an online, video-based, professional development resource focused on mathematics teaching and learning. Volunteer preservice teachers were invited to engage with the online resource and their reflections on their experiences were recorded in individual and focus group interviews. The findings reveal how the preservice teachers engaged with the resource, and what they learned about the teaching and learning of mathematics from their interactions with the resource. Here we present elements of those findings that reveal the participants learning. Keywords: preservice teacher learning, professional development

In previous publications, the first author has reported on a study of her own teacher education practices involving teaching with video-based examples of classroom practice derived from her own mathematics education research studies and her own practice (e.g., Towers, 2007). In the research reported in this article, however, we turn our attention to preservice teacher learning from professionally-developed video resources focused on mathematics teaching and learning. In addition, unlike much of the published literature that reports on (preservice) teachers engagements with multimedia cases in structured group environments (principally teacher education classrooms) or with a facilitator (e.g., Boling, 2007; Borko, Jacobs, Eiteljorg, & Pittman, 2008; Lampert & Ball, 1998; Masingila & Doerr, 2002; McGraw, Lynch, Koc, Budak, & Brown, 2007), the research study reported here deliberately gathered information about preservice teachers unstructured engagements with, and learning from, multimedia professional development resources. The rationale for this choice of design for the study is that practicing teachers are most likely to engage with freely available, online, professional development resources in their own time, probably alone, and with little or no formal organizational support. Hence, this study attempted to investigate how newly graduated preservice teachers approached such resources (and what they learned from them) when given free rein to explore them without structured guidance. We also anticipated that, given the unusual nature of these preservice teachers teacher education program (which we will describe briefly in a moment), their unstructured engagement with, and learning from, professional development materials might be different than that reported in the literature as typical learning from such materials. The preservice teachers selected for this study had participated in an inquiry-based teacher preparation program structured to help them develop practical wisdoma form of knowledge oriented to ethical action, which is the grounding of the knowledge, capacities, and dispositions that are at the heart of reflective,

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inquiry-based practice1. Learners within this program are asked to interrogate their own learning, reflect deeply on their practices (of learning and teaching), and be active participants in gaining new knowledge about teaching. At the end of their two years in the program, graduates are used to searching for, and creating, their own materials for teaching and learning about teaching. The research on which this article draws examines how graduates of this form of teacher education engage with professional development materials of all kinds, and in the particular dimension reported here we examine their engagements with one particular online, video-based resource. The core resource used for the study was the Reflections resource, published by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) and freely available on their website (NCTM, 2010). Our research questions included: To which kind of professional development materials do preservice teachers gravitate as they strive to learn to teach mathematics? How do preservice teachers engage with particular professional development materials? What do they learn about mathematics and mathematics teaching as a result of their engagement with various professional development materials? Theoretical FrameworkA Phronetic Approach to Teaching and Learning The broad theoretical perspective framing this research is centered on Aristotles conception of phronesis (Dunne, 1997, 2005). As Coulter and Wiens (2002) note, phronesis does not easily translate into English, but a common translation, and one adopted by the teacher education program that the participants featured in this writing experienced, is practical wisdom. Phronesis is a particular kind of knowledgeone oriented to action, and specifically ethical action; action oriented to the good (Coulter & Wiens, 2002; Lund, Panayotidis, Smits, & Towers, 2006; Ricoeur, 1992; Wall, 2003). Phronesis hence requires an interaction between the general and the particularfor instance, not only knowing general principles of classroom management, such as consistently applying rules of behavior, but understanding why, on this particular day with this particular child in relation to this particular task, rules may need to be modified. This kind of knowledge contrasts sharply with a technical perspective on teaching, which seeks to extract from [practice] a rational core that can be made transparent and replicable. Typically, this entails disembedding the knowledge implicit in the skillful performance of the characteristic tasks of the practice from the immediacy and idiosyncrasy of the particular situations in which it is deployed, and from the background of experience and character in the practitioners in whom it resides. Through this disembedding it is supposed that what is essential in the knowledge and skill can be abstracted for encapsulation in explicit, generalizable formulae, procedures, or ruleswhich can in turn be applied to the various situations and circumstances that arise in the practice, so as to meet the problems they present. (Dunne, 2005, p. 375)

A detailed account of the philosophical, theoretical, and structural dimensions of this teacher education program can be found in Phelan (2005).

J. Towers & T. Ripka

A phronetic approach to teaching calls forth from practitioners a set of capacities and practices that differ strongly from those valued within such a technical rationalist frame (Dunne & Pendlebury, 2002). This cluster of practices is commonly referred to as an inquirybased approach. Many of the practices now clustered within the term inquiry-based have a basis in Deweys philosophy of learning and, in the field of mathematics education, can be traced through the constructivist movement and are reflected in the reform movement spearheaded in North America by the US-based National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM, 2000). The kinds of knowledge, practices, and dispositions typically attributed to inquiry-oriented teachers that have relevance for the data presented in this paper include responsiveness to students and facility with listening, a commitment to exploring student thinking as well as skill in probing and making sense of students ideas, knowing how to teach for understanding including capitalizing on students multiple solution strategies, and a commitment to continued professional learning about practice (Alberta Learning, 2004; Lampert 2001; Lampert & Ball, 1998; Moscovici & Holmlund Nelson, 1998; NCTM, 2000). Teacher Learning and Professional Development The research on (mathematics) teacher development is broad and covers such concerns as the content and/or pedagogical knowledge base of teachers and preservice teachers (Ball & Bass, 2000, 2003; Hill & Ball, 2004; Kotsopoulos & Lavigne, 2008; Sosniak, 1999), issues of teacher and/or systemic change (Cochran-Smith, 2005; Loucks-Horsley, Hewson, Love, & Stiles, 1998), the influence of teachers understandings of student thinking (e.g., Fennema, Carpenter, Franke, Levi, Jacobs, & Empson, 1996; Jacobs, Franke, Carpenter, Levi, & Battey, 2007), the impact of teachers beliefs on their classroom practices (Lloyd, 1999; Raymond, 1997; Vacc & Bright, 1999; Wideen, Mayer-Smith, & Moon, 1998), the various roles and influences of initial teacher preparation (Darling-Hammond & Bransford, 2005), (successful) features of teacher professional development (Bredeson, 2003; Wilson & Berne, 1999), and dimensions of teacher learning including, with particular relevance for this article, such dimensions as the role of curriculum materials in teacher learning (Ball & Cohen, 1996; Ball & Feiman-Nemser, 1988; Collopy, 2003; Davis & Krajcik, 2005; Remillard, 2000). Within this broad body of literature is a subset that concerns itself with the use of case studies (most recently, multimedia case studies) as tools in developing professionals thinking. As our research utilized a set of multimedia case studies and we draw conclusions about teacher learning within this context, we focus primarily here on the current literature in this domain. Teacher Learning from Multimedia Case Studies of Practice As Masingila and Doerr (2002) acknowledge, the research literature dealing with teacher learning from multimedia case studies is rather limited (p. 238) and Brophy (2004) notes that relatively little systematic research has been conducted on the feasibility and effectiveness of various types and uses of video for various teacher education purposes (p. x). Despite our collective paucity of knowledge about teacher learning from multimedia resources, there is published literature that promotes the use of multimedia in teacher education (e.g., Davis & Krajcik, 2005; Jaworski, 1989). In an informal publication directed to teachers, Jaworski (1989) promotes the use of videotape for professional development. Her

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publication proposes ways in which teachers can initiate and sustain discussion about video recordings taken from their own classrooms, or professionally-produced recordings. However, there are also cautions about video use in teacher education. Pimm (1993) describes two common responses from adults (both teachers and teacher educators) as a result of being shown a piece of classroom videotape, which he has labeled televisual and intimidated. A televisual response is one that is based on the expectations that people have when a TV monitor is introduced into the room. Pimm suggests that on these occasions students tend to become passivethey have been conditioned by their usual experiences of television viewing to expect to be entertained, not stimulated intellectually. Pimm suggests that this response, whilst understandable and explicable, detracts from the value of using video. Brophy (2004) concurs and suggests that many educators employing video as a tool in teacher education claim that teachers need to be given clear purposes and agendas for viewing video and that their experiences need to be structured and scaffolded so as to support attainment of specific learning goals. As Pimm also notes, beginning teachers are often intimidated by carefully selected extracts featuring experienced teachers and apparently highly motivated and responsive pupils. He reports that this intimidation leads to defensiveness and that beginning (and more experienced) teachers often respond by criticizing the teachinga judgmental stance also noted by Brophy (2004). As Ball (1995) notes, however, the challenge is one of developing in (beginning) teachers a stance that is less simply evaluative of the teaching they see and more analytic of practice. Given the particular nature of the teacher education program in which the preservice teachers we studied had participated, we had questions about whether these preservice teachers would fall prey to these same orientations to multimedia examples of practice. During their teacher preparation program, these preservice teachers had been called upon to view the classrooms in which they had studied as student teachers as texts to be read rather than as sites in which to perform and it seemed to us possible that they would therefore read multimedia representations of classrooms in the same way. Such questions formed the backdrop against which the study reported here was designed. Other authors have carefully analyzed preservice and/or practicing teachers responses to multimedia cases of practice and attempted to describe the learning that they have observed. For example, Chieu, Weiss, and Herbst (2009) have created animated representations of classroom events and used these representations to investigate practicing teachers learning and knowledge. Participants in Chieu, Weiss, and Herbsts study freely explored the multimedia stories and were asked to comment on what they saw as noteworthy events in the episodes. Chieu, Weiss, and Herbst claim that the animations provided opportunities for teachers to share and discuss their common practical knowledge of their profession, and hence learn about different alternatives to a given teaching situation or problem. Copeland and Decker (1996) studied the effects of work with video cases on the meaning that preservice teachers in their study made from classroom teaching vignettes. They also studied the effects of a later (unfacilitated) group case discussion on subsequent meaning-making. Copeland and Decker (1996) concluded that some of the pedagogical topics raised by the preservice teachers were underdeveloped in both the individual and group responses and they speculated on the need for a facilitator or instructor to guide interaction with the cases and to push the preservice teachers thinking. We also considered, as part of the initial research

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design, including a taught session with the online video resource base for some of the participants while allowing others to interact with the resource without a facilitator in order to compare their responses and learning. However, we have gathered evidence in other studies (e.g., Towers, 2007) of the role of the teacher educator in helping to shape understandings when working with video resources (though admittedly not with this specific video resource) and here decided to explore only participants unstructured engagements with the resource, especially given that most practicing teachers are likely to engage with this particular resource without an instructor or facilitator to guide them. In their study of preservice secondary mathematics teachers responses to a multimedia case study of practice, Masingila and Doerr (2002) reported that participants were prompted to reflect on some of the dilemmas and tensions found in teaching. In particular, the preservice teachers focused on the difficulties encountered when trying to use student thinking and in following their own mathematical goals in a lesson. Similarly, in their extensive analysis of using multimedia case studies of teaching practice in initial teacher education, Lampert and Ball (1998) describe their experiences of designing a multimedia environment that would support preservice teachers learning about practice and help them to learn how to learn from their own practice as teachers. Lampert and Ball also raise an important issue concerning the design of multimedia resourceshow to be sure that they are, in fact, educative. The research reported here contributes to this discussion by showing how the particular professional development resource used in this study served to educate a small group of preservice teachers and by offering a set of initial implications for those studying educative curriculum materials for initial teacher education. Method Data Collection Six volunteer participants, five female and one male, who were new graduates of an initial teacher education program, were interviewed twice, once before being introduced to the Reflections resource and once after. All interviews were video- and/or audio-taped (one participant declined to be videotaped). In the initial interview, questions centered on the participants experiences before entering the teacher education program, their experiences of learning through (and practicing teaching through) inquiry in the program, their ideas about inquiry-based teaching and learning, and what they sought from professional development materials and resources for teachers and how they typically searched for and engaged with those materials. Following their initial interview, participants were referred to the link on the NCTM website that connects to the Reflections professional development resource. This resource contains, in hyper-linked form, what Ball and Cohen (1999) call materials of practice from several classrooms. There are videotaped classroom excerpts, interviews with the featured teachers, samples of student work, planning notes, questions for reflection, and so on. Participants were asked to engage with the materials in any way they wished, and after several weeks they were contacted again for a follow-up interview to discuss their experiences of engaging with the resource. Data from interviews with three participants have been used to construct this particular article and these three participants are introduced in the

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following section. Only three of the six participants were chosen for inclusion here because we find it helpful to limit the number of characters with which readers must try to become familiar within an article-length manuscript. The contributions of the remaining participants were consistent with the contributions detailed here (see Preservice Teacher Learning section later) and their inclusion would not have added significantly to the analysis nor altered the conclusions drawn. The Participants The participants in the research study reported here were, technically, preservice teachers, however the research was conducted after all requirements for their teacher preparation degree program were completed. The participants therefore existed in an in-between space not yet engaged in the act of full-time teaching and yet already released from the constraints of an education program. Some participants had already secured teaching contracts for the Fall and knew where (and which grades) they would be teaching, others had secured an initial contract with a school division but had not yet been assigned a placement, and others had yet to secure any form of future employment as a teacher. This timing was deliberate. We sought to understand what kinds of perspectives graduates of the teacher education program brought to their hunting and gathering for professional development materials once they were no longer directly influenced by teacher educators and/or teacher education curriculum requirements. Ocean was a mature, elementary-route student who had spent many years in the corporate world before choosing to enter the teaching profession. She reported finding the business world populated by people who lacked creativity, and wanted to work with young children in an effort to foster the creativity that they bring to learning. She indicated a desire within her teaching to integrate all subjects and have [the] flexibility to create something bigger. She had found a comfortable home in the inquiry-based philosophy of the teacher education program and felt that it aligned with how she would like to approach her own teaching. She had had the opportunity to explore inquiry-based teaching and integrating curricula in her field experiences during her teacher education program, despite being paired, in one of those settings, with a teacher who did not practice this way herself and who was wary of the approach. Ocean talked with great excitement about these experiences of enacting (mathematical) inquiry with children. She appeared confident about her own mathematical capacity, though she expressed frustration that most of the mathematics methods texts and websites she had encountered provided ideas for teaching various mathematical concepts but little in the way of the historical context of how these ideas had developed in the first place, an element that she considered critical to the development of a sound inquiry that integrated mathematics with other subject areas, rather than treating it as a series of isolated concepts to be mastered. She also noted that, even in the field experience she had had in a school that prided itself on its inquiry-based curriculum, mathematics stood apart from the other disciplines and was treated as an add on rather than fully integrated into the i nquiry that absorbed all the other teaching subjects. Trevor had an undergraduate degree in English and had completed his teacher preparation program in the Secondary Language Arts route. Most of his student teaching had been in

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Language Arts, though he had completed his major field experience in a middle school and had taught Grades 7 and 8 Mathematics there. Trevor reported being bored senseless watching the students do the textbooks during his observations of mathematics in his field experience classroom, so when he had the opportunity to teach he devised an inquiry project. He had not been entirely satisfied with the experience, claiming that he had not taken enough time to really develop it properly and discussing other factors that had inhibited its success. It appears that Trevor, in his first experience of inquiry-oriented teaching, had encountered one of the great challenges of this approachthe difficulty of predicting exactly what concepts would be covered by the inquiry. Trevor noted that the inquiry project covered bits and pieces of the chapter in the textbook that his partner teacher had wanted him to teach, but had also covered way more than that. Trevor had also been tripped up by the requirement to still have the students do weekly quizzes on the material from the textbook they would have been covering had their regular teacher still been leading the class and these quizzes revealed gaps between what the partner teacher wanted covered and what students were actually learning. Trevor reported feeling that he had failed with those expectations and remembered swearing that he would never do it again. Having had some time to reflect since that experience, though, he also noted that he now felt he would approach mathematics teaching again through inquiry but that he would be more deliberate about infusing specific mathematics concepts into the inquiry. Trevor came to this research project, then, believing that inquiry-based teaching and learning is the right theory, its just that its difficult to practice. Anastasia was a mature, elementary-route student who had an undergraduate degree in Engineering and a previous career in chemical research. Like Ocean, Anastasia felt relatively confident in her mathematical abilities, but had opted not to aim to teach secondary sciences or mathematics because she didnt want to teach Math 10 three times in a day. Instead, she felt drawn to the interdisciplinary things you can do at the elementary [level]. In her f ield experiences she had practiced in two contrasting schools (in terms of teaching philosophy), and had felt constrained in the second one (where her major teaching had taken place) to conform to the traditional teaching that was the norm there, however she reported feeling that inquiry-based teaching and learning made the most sense to her and was clearly keen to practice inquiry in her own classroom. Anastasia already had a confirmed teaching appointment at the time of the research study, and was looking forward to teaching Grade 5 in the Fall of that year. Though we had hoped to interview all participants together for their second interview in order to prompt more discussion about the materials, some participants had been unable to join the group interviews and were therefore interviewed separately (though we reiterate that all engagements with the Reflections resource were conducted individually in the participants own time). Trevor participated in two individual interviews, while Ocean and Anastasia participated in individual initial interviews and a joint second interview. Due to technical difficulties with the website, some of the video components of the upper grades material in the Reflections resource base had been inaccessible during the study period, so most participants had viewed the primary grades materials. In the interviews, participants mainly referred to the Grade 3 materials so we offer here a brief description of the tasks and materials contained in that component of the resource.

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Reflections Grade 3 Materials: The Doubling Pot Like each set of the Reflections resources, the Grade 3 materials contain a detailed lesson plan, videotaped excerpts from pre- and post-lesson interviews with the classroom teacher, sets of questions for reflection2 that link to brief lesson video clips, samples of student work from the featured lesson, and a set of questions designed to encourage engagement with the mathematics targeted within the lesson. It is not possible to access a video of the whole lesson or even a list of the clips in chronological order (an issue which was noted as problematic by some research participants)video clips can only be accessed by reflection theme. In the lesson, the Grade 3 students are asked to decide whether they would rather be given one thousand coins or five coins and a magic doubling pot, into which the five coins can be placed, which doubles its contents (however, the students are told that the doubling pot will only work ten times). They therefore need to figure out whether doubling five coins to get ten, then doubling ten to get twenty, etc., for ten iterations will result in more or less than one thousand coins. The students are given a worksheet that asks them to first state which option they would choose, and why. There follows an instruction to model the problem using base-ten blocks, and a T-table with ten lines and two columns headed In and Out. Finally, there are some questions for reflection on the worksheet: What did you notice? Did you make the right choice? How do you know? The brief video clipslinked to reflection questions for the viewershow extracts from several phases of the lesson including the teacher introduction, small-group working, and whole-class discussion of the problem. Data Analysis Data analysis proceeded in several stages. Though the research team (first author and a number of graduate student research assistants) had gained familiarity with the Reflections resource materials before initiating the data collection phase of the study in order to guide questioning in the interviews and make sense of the participants responses and conversations, data analysis began with a phase of detailed re-familiarization with the entire resource base. Following this phase, interview data were transcribed and initial familiarization with the data was initiated by reading through the transcripts in their entirety several times, and by watching and listening to the original video and/or audio recordings to ensure accuracy of transcription and to add notes to the transcriptions concerning gestures or facial expressions that informed the way in which certain ideas were communicated by participants. In addition, this phase enabled clarification of the group interview transcript, where it was initially difficult to infer the speaker during overlapping conversation on the audiotape. Next, transcriptions were annotated to highlight contributions that were pertinent to our focus on teacher engagement with, and learning from, the Reflections resource. These annotated passages were then analyzed, against a background of teaching as phronesis, for ideas and themes that were repeated in multiple transcripts, and also for outlying or idiosyncratic responses. For example, a phronetic approach to teaching emphasizes the
2

The questions for reflection for each set of grade-specific materials are structured around the following topics: appropriateness of the tasks, teacher and student discourse, evidence of learning, teacher decision making, and mathematical ideas.

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significance of the particular, as described earlier. Hence, we paid attention to whether the participants tended to draw on generalized theories and norms of teaching practice as they sought to understand the materials with which we had asked them to engage, or whether they sought to understand why and how particular actions were significant in context. For example, as we show later when we discuss what the participants noted about lesson transitions, these participants consistently reflected on how student thinking was preserved (or dissipated) through lesson transitions, rather than on conceptions of lesson transition as primarily a classroom management concern (as it is often presented in teacher education textbooks and primers for new teachers). In the final phase of analysis these coded contributions were developed into a narrative that tells the story of these participants engagements and learning. The paragraphs above that introduce the participants are excerpted from these developing narratives. To deepen our analysis we also drew on the work of Fong, Percy, and Woodruff (2004) who have identified four lenses through which they claim that teachers (both novice and experienced) view videotapes of exemplary teaching practice. These are (a) a content lens, wherein viewers essentially watch the vignette as a student of subject matter being taught in the vignette with the purpose of learning more about the content being presented rather than the pedagogy, (b) a form lens, wherein viewers watch as teacher-technicians, often concerning themselves with management of the learning activity rather than underlying purposes and functions, (c) a surface-level media lens, wherein viewers watch as a video producer might, commenting on the setting, teachers appearance and video presentation, and (d) a pedagogy lens, wherein viewers process what they see at a deep level, drawing on knowledge of learning theory and/or subject matter knowledge and focusing on underlying processes and functions of the action. Fong, Percy, and Woodruff claim that those using the pedagogy lens are acting as master teachers. We used Fong, Percy, and Woodruffs framework to determine the lens through which the preservice teachers were viewing the video material and then interpreted these lenses through the theory of phronesis to understand the underlying orientation that the preservice teachers may have been bringing to their interactions with the resource. In the next section, we present the four major themes of focus for the preservice teachers, as derived from the above described data analysis processes. Preservice Teacher Learning In this section we analyze examples drawn from the data corpus that illustrate how the preservice teachers engaged with the Reflections resource and what they learned from those engagements regarding teaching and learning. The interaction with Reflections allowed the participants in this study to identify deficiencies in their own teaching practices and areas for their own growth in teaching mathematics, to learn strategies for lesson planning, to reflect on teacher decision-making and lesson transitioning, and to learn new strategies for assessing student understanding. Each of these aspects of their learning is addressed below. Reflecting on Deficiencies and Identifying Areas for Growth in Teaching Ocean expressed how engagement with the resource allowed her to reflect on her own deficiencies and possible improvements she could make to her own teaching.

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O:

For me, I think what I like the most about that resourcewas listening to the teachers and watching the students interact.It would start to highlight points that I go oh, Id like to try that, oh, Im not that good at that, you know?...More than the [reflection] questions for me, it was the listening to the videos and seeing where possibly I could improve something myself.

Trevor revealed that, as a result of engaging with the materials, he learned about a specific deficiency in his own teaching.
T: Well, I thought my biggest problem...is that Im not concise enough in my direction....I saw a bunch of times [on the video]...where I thought, Well, this is taking too long and I know what shes trying to get to but its taking too long and I thought that was almost like the same thing as videotaping yourself. Its a different way of practice by watching someone else....I saw her kind of go that way [gesticulating a circuitous route] to get to her point instead of straight, which is something that I fear myself doing. Thats why I found that beneficial; I could see how these traps got laid. You are trying, she was trying to be so careful that it took her too long to cover the details.

As well, Trevor described his recognition that reflection was difficult for young children and identified it as an area with room for improvement in his teaching. Here he reflects on evidence of students attempts to respond to the reflection question at the end of the worksheet:
T: I found out that most of the kids just didnt answer it, or if they did, they didnt actually, like they [used] words but they werent answering the question. I thought that that was interesting cause thats something weve, I think, Ive talked a lot about [in the teacher education program], is reflection is good, but how do you teach reflection?...Thats something that we need to...work on in the future is teaching kids to reflect....When I saw that, I was kind of like, well, thats something that I would struggle with.

Each of these examples show that a primary concern for these preservice teachers was the underlying function of the observed teaching in terms of student learning, an orientation consistent with Fong, Percy, and Woodruffs (2004) pedagogy lens. For example, we note that Oceans concern as she listened to the teachers was watching the students interact and these two processesteaching and student interactionwere clearly connected for her. Similarly, Trevor showed concern for a deeper consideration of the theoretical idea of reflection on actiona perspective emphasized within the teacher education program. He was concerned with the underlying challenge of how one might actually teach others (in this case Grade 3 students) to reflect on their problem-solving processes. Lesson Planning Trevor also drew attention to his learning about a novel structure for lesson planning revealed by the materials. In particular he noticed that part of the plan asked the teacher to predict what the students would find easy and difficult in the proposed lesson. He reflected

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that while this may have been an idea he had encountered before somewhere in his preparation to teach, it was not one that had stuck with him until he saw it enacted (and observed the ensuing lesson) in the Reflections resource base.
T: I liked all the questions that they asked for the lesson plans, like the way they had that laid out. This type of a format made sure that you had all your bases covered and really if you know that then...you are...more prepared. [In] particular, what will my students find easy, what will my students find difficult? I thought, Thats really a clever way. That struck a chord with me. Those are smart ways to prepare your lessons.

Ocean also commented on this aspect of the lesson planning structure adopted in the materials, noting how this structure focuses the teachers attention on expectations for student understanding. In both these examples, then, we see the preservice teachers adopting a pedagogy lens. The aspect of the teachers planning activities that drew their attention was this particular device, a mechanism designed to focus attention on student conceptions and misconceptions of the topic and hence, learning. Transitioning Ocean and Anastasia talked about how observing the various transitions of the lesson was particularly helpful.
O: The area that I found the most helpful was not even the content because there are lots of flows of lessons where things that Ive already tried, but it was more the transitions. Actually it was the area that I found, for me, was oh yeah, maybe Im not spending enough time here, or maybe, oh, why did she go back and do that three times, you know, maybe theres a need here....So one way that she was [transitioning] in this Grade 3 [lesson] is [when] someone responded and said I understand it then that table went and she identified that person as being a key...And then she said, Now who else understands? So she didnt let a table go. Until they had a focal point within that group. So I learnt something. So what I see with this [resource] is what we will learn is two or three gems each time we look at this.

A: O:

Trevor also described how Reflections allowed him to explore lesson transitioning and consequently provided him with the opportunity to recognize areas for growth in his own teaching:
T: The transition one, the one that I thought was not very well done was, the end result was good, it was exactly something that I would have done too, which is why I picked it up, was to go from the group work to the carpet in front of the table and then she asked...the smart kidthe only one that ever talks, Lewis or whatever his name wasto hold onto his thoughts...but by the time they got there his thoughts were clearly gone. I thought that was interesting. Its something that I thought of, actually, to go back to...my planning of knowing when to cut things off and how am I going to actually get twenty-five kids from here to there in a time where it wont feel like a new lesson by the time you got there?

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In these excerpts, and interpreted through Fong, Percy, and Woodruffs lenses, we see the preservice teachers concern about how to prompt and preserve student understanding through various lesson transitions. They did not focus on how to manage behavior and movement efficiently during transitions, and even though Trevor commented tangentially on how long a transition seemed to take (as the students moved to the carpet) his concern about this was not in relation to the potential for disruption and management issues but the potential for loss of students important mathematical ideas during such transitions. Assessment Ocean discussed issues of student assessment by recognizing that one of the teachers depicted in Reflections struggled with the assessment of her own students. The teacher thought some of the concepts would be difficult for her students but, as the lesson unfolded, it became clear that this was not necessarily the case. While it was true for some of the students it was not true for others. This recognition reinforced for Ocean the realization that even experienced teachers struggle to know what each individual student knows and can do. She commented, Okay, for you [the Grade 3 teacher featured] its hard as well. In addition, through their engagement with the resource, Anastasia and Ocean recognized how a childs language has a place in assessment. They each noticed how the grade three teacher gathered information about each childs understanding by writing down on individual peel and stick papers brief excerpts of what each child had said during conversation or whole group discussion:
A: I loved the practical stuff. Like when they [the interviewers on the Reflections video] asked her [the teacher] about the peel and stick labels. Thats always been a challenge for me, [be]cause I get so absorbed in what [students] are doing and trying to be out there and...participating in what they are doing that at the end of the lesson when I was student teaching, you know, Id be asked So,...what were the comments you heard and what was this person doing? and Im thinking Uhm, yeah, I talked to that person and this whole peel and stick label thing in the conferring book [with] the tab sections for each child, I thought Okay, Im writing that down. ...because, its an assessment for you to know what you want to do in the next class but its also there at the end. And that was what I found with these, you know, is jotting down notes, right? What kind of format to use. And every teacher does a different thing, but stickies you can just [tapping as though she was writing a note]. And you can find them. Yeah, I like that too. And the kid language thing, she said she wrote kid language. Can you say a little bit more about that? [Interviewer] She literally wrote down what the kids had said to her in their words. She didnt say Oh wow, they understood the doubling concept until they got to the higher numbers she wrote down what the kids said. And she said show me whats happening here, you know, whats going on and then she would literally write down what the kids said to her in the kids words.

O:

A: O: A: I: A:

The encounter with Reflections also compelled Trevor to ask himself important questions surrounding assessment, in particular concerning assessing student understanding.

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T:

[I wondered] how she could tell from the group discussions how many of them were actually understanding what they were doing....And so I guess, [the resource] helped in the sense that it raised the question for me, well how do you actually know what these kids are getting?...So I thought that was sort of a question that arose for me, too, for the group assessment of how do you, aside from something written that you are getting, how do you know how many of them are getting it?...I found [the resource] mostly...beneficial in a way that it brought issues to my attention if not answers.

Again drawing on Fong, Percy, and Woodruffs lenses, we see in these excerpts that all three of the preservice teachers showed deep concern for student understanding (not just procedural competence or surface subject matter knowledge), a concern that shows they have integrated theoretical and research-based thinking about mathematics learning into their conceptions of good teaching. Although both Ocean and Trevor did allude to the difficulties associated with ascertaining student understandingOcean when she noted that the Grade 3 teacher seemed to find that difficult and Trevor when he noted that the resource did not provide answers but rather further questions for himthey showed that they were processing what they saw and heard deeply, looking for and commenting on the underlying processes that lead to understanding. Hence, despite, recognizing the challenges of teaching for mathematical understanding each of the preservice teachers were willing to dwell on student understanding as their primary concern. Anastasia, in particular, showed a nuanced interpretation of the idea of assessing student understanding when she commented on how the teacher recorded students own words on sticky notes. Anastasia noted that the teacher didnt just say Oh wow, they understood the doubling concept until they got to the higher numbers but that she actually asked the students to show her what was happening in the problem and wrote down what the kids said. Discussion: Learning from Professional Development Resources Borrowing from Ball and Feiman-Nemser (1988) who claim that preservice teachers should be taught how to learn from using published curricular materials (p. 401), we extend that idea to contend that preservice and practicing teachers should also be taught how to learn from professional development materials. As Copeland and Deckers (1996) findings show, it cannot be assumed that teachers will engage in a sophisticated manner and learn anything of significance just because the materials with which they are interacting are intended to be educative. Drawing on fundamental work in the domain of pedagogical content knowledge (Shulman, 1986), Davis and Krajcik (2005) suggest that educative curriculum materials ought to assist in the development of a more integrated and robust knowledge base for teachers, including knowledge of how to teach the content and knowledge of how to help students understand the authentic activities of the discipline. We believe that the participants engagements with the resource show that they were able to learn from the resource and that what they learned was oriented to student thinking and understanding and sound teacher practice. This study therefore provides evidence of what a small group of teachers learned from their unstructured interactions with a professional development resource that is freely available to teachers. However, it is also significant, we think, that these beginning teachers

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had participated in a teacher preparation program that specifically aims to foster life-long learning within the profession of teaching and that focuses explicitly on unpacking students prior learning experiences and teaching them how to learn through inquiry (Phelan, 2005). While we cannot claim a direct correlation here, continued research with students and graduates of this program is indicating that an inquiry-oriented education can help to shape new teachers who are engaged and thoughtful and whose classroom practices reflect their beliefs (Towers, 2008, 2010). In part, then, the Reflections resource may have served to surface the preservice teachers tacit knowing as developed during their teacher preparation program, in addition to prompting new learning (such as Anastasias recognition of the importance of documenting students own words when assessing their understanding of a concept). In the remaining sections of this paper we discuss the level of sophistication of the participants engagement with the resource and position their engagements as a form of Deweys (1908/1932) imaginative rehearsal of action. Sophistication of Engagement In contrast to Copeland and Deckers (1996) concerns, which we mentioned earlier, that the participants in their study often did not develop topics and ideas to a significant level, in this study participants showed a relatively sophisticated level of engagement with the materials. For example, though Copeland and Decker (1996) criticized some of their participants for focusing on limited ideas, or, when they addressed important ideas focusing on them in limited ways, the participants in this study showed a tendency to focus on significant ideas concerned primarily with promoting student thinking about mathematics. For example, the issue of transitions between lesson elements surfaced a number of times in both individual and group interviews. Two such examples were described in the previous section. While lesson transitions could be considered a quite trivial management concern, the way in which these participants addressed the issue reflects concern with a deeper reading of the phenomenon of transitions. Trevor was one of the participants for whom lesson transitions seemed an important aspect of his learning. He noticed that in one of the video episodes the teacher had asked a boy to hold onto his thoughts while she had the class move from small groups to a whole class setting sitting on the carpet at the front of the room, and that by the time everyone was settled the boys thoughts had clearly gone. Trevor turned his experience of watching student thinking disappear into a question for his own practice: How am I going to actually get twenty-five kids from here to there in a time where it wont feel like a new lesson by the time you got there? This emphasis on student thinking (rather than behavior management) suggests that, educated within an environment that privileges phronesis, preservice teachers are able to develop an orientation that helps them focus on sophisticated elements of teaching practice (such as privileging student thinking). It is also interesting to note that Trevor considered the resource beneficial because it brought issues to [his] attention if not answers. This is a sophisticated engagement with a professional development resource for a preservice teacher, as it is usually assumed that new teachers are more concerned with solutions, techniques, and tips for the classroom rather than with actively seeking out and

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valuing complexities and questions.3 Similarly, Ocean, in her reflections on lesson transitions, picked up on a transitioning strategy that emphasized the importance of ensuring that at least one member of each table group had an understanding of the problem before releasing that particular group of students to work on the problem. This is a transitioning strategy that positions student understanding as a primary concern for the teacher. Ocean (and for that matter, Anastasia, who seemed to also have noted and understood the value of this strategy) commented that in the Grade 3 lesson [a student] responded and said I u nderstand it then that table went and [the teacher] identified that person as being a key...And then she said, Now who else understands? So she didnt let a table go [Anastasia completes the sentence:] until they had a focal point within that group. This insight into Oceans interpretation of classroom events (and perhaps we may suggest Anastasias, too) suggests that she notices and privileges strategies that enhance student learning rather than those that simply keep a classroom running smoothlya lens that Fong, Percy and Woodruff (2004) would suggest is a sophisticated (pedagogy) lens. As noted previously, Fong, Percy, and Woodruff (2004) claim that those using the pedagogy lens are acting as master teachers. While participants in our study did occasionally comment on elements that might suggest they were using a form lens, we contend that for the most part, and as can be seen in the previous examples, these preservice teachers were analyzing the underlying purposes of the pedagogy and orienting themselves to inquiry and supporting student learning (and hence using the more sophisticated pedagogy lens). Though we did not pre-test the participants competencies in these domains before introducing the Reflections materials, we are confident that the materials prompted significant realizations and learning for these preservice teachers, as evidenced by the animated ways in which they described their engagements and emerging recognitions (e.g., transitionswas the area that I found, for me, was oh yeah, maybe Im not spending enough time here (Ocean on what she learned about her own lesson transition procedures by watching the teacher on the video), [the resource] helped in the sense that it raised the question for me, well how do you actually k now what these kids are getting? (Trevor on the importance of understanding student understanding), and she would literally write down what the kids said to her in the kids words (Anastasia on the assessment mechanism used by the teacher in the video). The Reflections materials, then, afford possibilities to help preservice teachers surface, reflect upon, and extend their learning about teaching. Imaginative Rehearsal of Action In our analysis of the data we noticed that the participants often referred to themselves (or to the non-specific but inclusive you or one) as though they had been the one teaching the
3

While some readers may question whether Trevors instinct to raise a question for his own practice can be said to represent learning, we reemphasize the theoretical framework underpinning both this research and the teacher education program within which these research participants learned to teach. A phronetic orientation to teaching and learning emphasises the importance of reflection on practice, and the constant effort to raise questions about ones own practice in order to guide learning and development of practice. From this perspective, Trevors engagement with the resource has prompted a significant question about student learning and this is a critical step in his own learning. As the first author has shown elsewhere (Towers, 2008, 2010), new teachers orientation to a questioning and inquiry-based approach to their own and students learning provides a basis for strong initial teaching practices.

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lesson. Sometimes their language use flipped back to she or her for the teacher mid sentence. For example, Trevor, in reflecting on his own deficiencies in direct teaching (described above) noted that You are trying, she was trying to be so careful that it took her too long to cover the details. The participants seemed to take ownership of the teaching and learning they observed, even going so far as to project themselves into the video and see themselves as the teacher. Trevor, for instance, commented that
T: You tend to look for the things that you are worried about seeing in yourself and so...you notice what it looks like and I think thats been a lot, most teachers problems, or at least mine [is] that I dont know what I look like when Im up there and I have a feeling that the mental image is not quite accurate. So I thought that was really good for like a reflection type of a tool in that sense that you can actually see what you are doing [note the use of you here].

This reflective action is a form of what Dewey (1908/1932, p. 302) calls imaginative rehearsal of action. Such deliberation is actually an imaginative rehearsal of v arious courses of conduct (p. 303) and therefore such moments offer teachers a space in which to consider possibilities and reflect on how they might act and respond in a similar situation. For these participants, sometimes the imaginative rehearsal took the form of a kind of internal dialogue with the characters on screen. With her comment, Okay, for you its hard as well. Its not just hard for me to perceive what twenty-one to thirty kids get out of this and where they really [are] at, Ocean reveals a fairly common speaking pattern that emerged in the interviews we conducted wherein the research participants revealed to us the kind of internal dialogue they had been having with the teachers and students who appeared on the video clips. Our impression, gained during analysis of the data, is that the preservice teachers were responding to the videos in the same way that they may have responded to a live observation during a practicum field placementthey were interrogating the texts (videos, lesson plans, lesson debriefings, etc.) and participating in a dialogue with, and about, the teaching/teachers and learning/learners they were viewing. Again, this instinct may be a result of the kind of teacher preparation program these preservice teachers have experiencedone where the field experience classroom is primarily considered a text to be interpreted, not a space to replicate existing practice or simply apply theory. The dialogues though are interesting, given that they are not even being presented in real-timethey were being reported in group or individual interviews some time (up to several weeks) after the engagements with the particular section of the resource may have occurred. We see these, then, as significant to and for the participants. Clearly, these dialogues remained with the participants over time and were presented to us as powerful descriptions of the ways in which the participants had engaged with the resources. Implications That the participants had placed such emphasis on imaginative rehearsal of action begs the question of whether the classroom examples offered in a resource such as Reflections should represent exemplary teaching or whether a flaws and all approach is more helpful. There is disagreement in the literature on this issue. While both folk wisdom and some

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research evidence (e.g., Smith & Diaz, 2002; McCurry, 2000) would suggest that exposing teachers to video models of exemplary teaching is a powerful and efficient form of professional development, Fong, Percy, and Woodruff (2004) and others (e.g., Bereiter, 2002) doubt whether teachers commonly recognize exemplary practice when they see it. We acknowledge that there may be value in offering preservice (and practicing) teachers opportunities to experience, through videotape or some other means, practice that is exemplary. As Ball (1990) and others (see e.g., Howey & Zimpher, 1999; Lampert & Ball, 1999) note, unless preservice teachers have experience of an alternative model of teaching to the traditional one that many of them have experienced in their own schooling, they cannot hope to be able to enact a different conception of what it means to teach. However, we do not believe that preservice (or practicing) teachers necessarily need to experience how such an alternative conception can be enacted while they are in a school setting. Both the context of teacher education itself (see, e.g., Phelan, 2005) and an immersion in materials of practice (Ball & Cohen, 1999) such as is offered in the Reflections resource can offer alternative conceptions of teaching that are rich and complex and both are worthy of further consideration. While it is clear that much of the material included in the Reflections resource was interpreted by our participants as being representative of good, inquiry-oriented teaching, we did ask our participants to comment on whether they felt they could learn from elements of the resource that might be considered to represent less than exemplary practice. Anastasia noted that you can learn a lot about how you dont want to word stuff, or how you dont want to present it, absolutely while Ocean was less sure that she would want to view a resource that showed poor practice. In contrast to the perspective she brought to the rest of her reflections on the resource, her interpretation of our question focused on the mechanics of how the teacher might organize a lesson. She commented that, I think what I liked is the teachers speaking at the end of what worked or didnt work in a lesson. But...I dont think a poorly run lesson would be something that I would stay on. This was one of the few instances in which a participant adopted a form rather than pedagogy lens (Fong, Percy, & Woodruff, 2004) to interpret the Reflections materials. While, as we noted earlier, Pimm (1993) suggests that videotapes of exemplary practice can lead the viewer to feel intimidated and to respond with defensive criticism of the teacher, we feel that, for the most part, the participants in this study did not adopt such a perspective and instead worked to analyze the practice, in particular in terms of its capacity to enhance student understanding of mathematics. This analytical rather than evaluative perspective is, as Ball (1995) has noted, challenging to promote in preservice education, however it is important to develop resources and teacher education practices that support such development. We believe that the Reflections resources have the potential to occasion analytical perspectives, although given the particular participants with whom we engaged in this study it is not clear to what extent beginning teachers educated in a less inquiry-driven and inquiry-oriented program would orient themselves in the same way to this resource. Further research with a wider sample of preservice and practicing teachers would be required to tease out such complexities. Further, Ball and Cohen (1996) note that educative curriculum materials (and by extension we claim educative professional development materials) should offer concrete examples of what students work might look like, what reasoning might underlie students

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work, and what other teachers have done in similar situations (p. 8). Our study shows that the Reflections materials offer such examples, and that the participants were able to learn from these examples and demonstrate a relatively sophisticated understanding of teaching practice through this engagement. In addition, Ball and Cohen (1996) also recommend that educative materials should offer concrete illustrations of the nature of student understanding important at a given point, and how other teachers have reached this point (p. 8), features we do not believe are immediately foregrounded in the Reflections materials but that might reasonably be added to, or made more explicit within, the resource. Additional research that uses the Reflections online resources in comparison with other similar materials (such as Chieu, Weiss, and Herbsts (2009) materials) might help elucidate precisely which features of a professional development resource are the most significant for promoting sophisticated learning about the nature of students mathematical understanding and how to occasion it in diverse classrooms. Conclusion Understanding teaching as a form of phronesispractical wisdomcalls on practitioners to make sound judgments (in and about practice). This study has shown that educating new teachers to orient themselves to sophisticated concerns of pedagogy (such as concerns for student learning and understanding) rather than technical management issues (such as classroom control) is possible and that such orientations show themselves in relation to video-based, online, teacher professional development materials. To be oriented to the complexities of student learning and understanding is the ground of sound judgment, wise practice, and hence phronesis. Further, our analysis reveals that the Reflections resource is capable of providing a context for surfacing and, at times, occasioning such learning. Acknowledgements The research reported here was supported by a grant from the Duke Energy Foundation.

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Lampert, M., & Ball, D. L. (1999). Aligning teacher education with contemporary K-12 reform visions. In L. Darling-Hammond & G. Sykes (Eds.), Teaching as the learning profession: Handbook of policy and practice (pp. 33-53). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Lloyd, G. M. (1999). Two teachers conceptions of a reform-oriented curriculum: Implications for mathematics teacher development. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 2, 227-252. doi:10.1023/A:1009965804662 Loucks-Horsley, S., Hewson, P. W., Love, N., & Stiles, K. E. (1998). Designing professional development for teachers of science and mathematics. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Lund, D., Panayotidis, L., Smits, H., & Towers, J. (2006). Fragmenting narratives: The ethics of narrating difference. Journal of the Canadian Association of Curriculum Studies, 4(1), 1-23. Masingila, J. O., & Doerr, H. M. (2002). Understanding pre-service teachers emerging practices through their analyses of a multimedia case study of practice. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 5, 235-263. doi:10.1023/A:1019847825912 McCurry, D. S. (2000). Technology for critical pedagogy: Beyond self-reflection with video. Proceedings of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education International Conference, Vol. 1-3, (p. 6). San Diego, CA. McGraw, R., Lynch, K., Koc, Y., Budak, A., & Brown, C. (2007). The multimedia case as a tool for professional development: An analysis of online and face-to-face interaction among mathematics pre-service teachers, in-service teachers, mathematicians and mathematics teacher educators. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 10, 95-121. doi:10.1007/s10857-007-9030-3 Moscovici, H., & Holmlund Nelson, T. (1998). Shifting from activitymania to inquiry. Science and Children, 35(4), 1417. NCTM. (2000). Principles and standards for school mathematics. Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. NCTM (2010). Reflections. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics online resource. Available at http://www.nctm.org/resources/content.aspx?menu_id=598&id=6372. Phelan, A. (2005). On discernment: The wisdom of practice and the practice of wisdom in teacher education. In G. F. Hoban (Ed.), The missing links in teacher education design: Developing a multi-linked conceptual framework (pp. 57-73). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer Press. doi:10.1007/1-4020-3346-X_4 Pimm, D. (1993). From should to could: Reflections on possibilities of mathematics teacher education. For the Learning of Mathematics, 13(2), 27-32. Raymond, A. (1997). Inconsistency between a beginning elementary school teachers mathematical beliefs and teaching practice. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 28(5), 550-576. doi:10.2307/749691

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Remillard, J. T. (2000). Can curriculum materials support teachers learning? Two fourthgrade teachers use of a new mathematics text. The Elementary School Journal, 100(4), 331-350. doi:10.1086/499645 Ricoeur, P. (1992). Oneself as another (Kathleen Blamey, Trans.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Shulman, L. (1986). Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Researcher, 15(2), 4-14. doi:10.3102/0013189X015002004 Smith, J. C., & Diaz, R. (2002). Evolving uses of technology in case-based teacher education. Working Paper 5. National Center on Adult Literacy, University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved April 3, 2008 from http://www.literacy.org/products/SmithDiazSITE2002.pdf Sosniak, L. A. (1999). Professional and subject matter knowledge for teacher education. In G. Griffin (Ed.), The education of teachers. 98th Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education (pp. 185-204). Chicago: Chicago University Press. Towers, J. (2007). Using video in teacher education. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, 33(2), 97-122. Towers, J. (2008). Living ethically in the classroom: Enacting and sustaining inquiry. Journal of Educational Thought, 42(3), 277-292. Towers, J. (2010). Learning to teach mathematics through inquiry: A focus on the relationship between describing and enacting inquiry-oriented teaching. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 13(3), 243-263. doi: 10.1007/s10857-009-9137-9 Vacc, N. N., & Bright, G. W. (1999). Elementary preservice teachers changing beliefs and instructional use of childrens mathematical thinking. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 30(1), 89-110. doi:10.2307/749631 Wall, J. (2003). Phronesis, poetics, and moral creativity. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 6, 317-341. doi:10.1023/A:1026063925726 Wideen, M., Mayer-Smith, J., & Moon, B. (1998). A critical analysis of the research on learning to teach: Making the case for an ecological perspective on inquiry. Review of Educational Research, 68(2), 130-178. doi:10.3102/00346543068002130 Wilson, S. M., & Berne, J. (1999). Teacher learning and the acquisition of professional knowledge: An examination of research on contemporary professional development. Review of Research in Education, 24, 173-209. doi:10.3102/0091732X024001173 Authors Jo Towers, Professor, towers@ucalgary.ca Faculty of Education, University of Calgary, Canada;

Tina Rapke, Ph.D. Candidate, Faculty of Education and Department Mathematics and Statistics, University of Calgary, Canada; trapke@ucalgary.ca

of

International Electronic Journal of Mathematics Education IJM

Vol.6, No.1

Fostering Young Childrens Spatial Structuring Ability Fenna van Nes Scandpower Michiel Doorman Freudenthal Institute for Science and Mathematics Education
Insight into spatial structures (e.g., dice dot configurations or double structures) is important for learning numerical procedures such as determining, comparing and operating with quantities. Using design research, a hypothetical learning trajectory was developed and an instruction experiment was performed to gain a better understanding of how young childrens (aged 4-6 years) spatial structuring ability may be fostered. In this paper we highlight the role of an overarching context in influencing the effectiveness of the instructional setting. The context that was designed for this instruction experiment created opportunities for the children and teacher to focus on spatial structuring in a sequence of instruction activities. The analyses suggest that children benefited from having participated in the instruction activities. In particular, the overarching context helped them to gain awareness of spatial structures and to learn to use spatial structuring strategies rather than unitary counting procedures. This emphasizes the importance of acknowledging spatial structure in early educational practice for cultivating young childrens mathematical development. Keywords: spatial structuring, kindergarten, number sense, design research, context

When asked to determine the quantity of a randomly arranged collection of objects, young children initially tend to count each object unitarily. As the set grows, this procedure eventually confronts them with the difficulties of keeping track of count, and with the timeconsuming process that accompanies the counting of large quantities. This calls for ways to physically or mentally rearrange the objects so that the counting procedure may be shortened. In fact, research has shown that children who focus on non-mathematical features and who continue to prefer to count objects unitarily without using any form of structure, may be prone to experiencing delays in their mathematical development (e.g., Butterworth, 1999; Mulligan, Prescott, & Mitchelmore, 2004). The present research intends to contribute to better understanding of the role of spatial structuring ability for fostering the early mathematical development of young children (Van Nes, 2009). To this end, our aim is to design an instructional setting that fosters this development and supports children in learning to use spatial structures for shortening numerical procedures such as determining, comparing and operating with quantities. For instance, children dont need to count the dots in the dice structure for 6, but learn to recognize two rows of three (:::) or four and two (:: and :). Through exploring and comparing structures, as represented by objects like dice and egg cartons, children can come to recognize and use these underlying structures. We propose that such insight can help to establish and secure childrens awareness of spatial structures, to support childrens ability to recognize and manipulate such structures in various contexts, and to use spatial structuring to shorten numerical procedures. This research can highlight the need for instruction that promotes

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spatial structuring strategies rather than unitary counting procedures (Clements, 1999; Clements & Sarama, 2007). As such, the general research question is posed as follows: What characterizes an instructional setting that can support children in learning to make use of spatial structures to shorten and simplify numerical procedures? In this paper, we focus on one particularly important characteristic of an effective instructional setting, namely the context that embeds the sequence of instructional activities. Theoretical Background Spatial Structuring and Numerical Insight We make use of Battista and Clements (1996) definition to define spatial structuring as ... the mental operation of constructing an organization or form for an object or set of objects. Spatially structuring an object determines its nature or shape by identifying its spatial components, combining components into spatial composites, and establishing interrelationships between and among components and composites. (p. 503) Mulligan, Mitchelmore, and Prescott (2006a) found that children with a more sophisticated awareness of patterns and structures excelled in mathematical thinking and reasoning compared to their peers and vice versa. Although the correlations could not reveal causal effects, the researchers suggested that young children are capable of understanding more than just unitary counting and additive structures. Mulligan, Prescott, Papic, and Mitchelmore (2006b) also found that young (5-12 years), low-achieving students can be taught to seek and recognize mathematical structure and that this can lead to an improvement in their overall mathematics achievement. They concluded that the development of pattern and structure is generic to a well-connected conceptual framework in mathematics (p.214), and that instruction in mathematical patterns and structures could stimulate childrens learning and understanding of mathematical concepts and procedures. Indeed, Battista and Clements (1996) and Battista, Clements, Arnoff, Battista and Van Auken Borrow (1998) found that students spatial structuring abilities provide the necessary input and organization for the numerical procedures that third, fourth, and fifth grade students used to count an array of squares. The research above suggests that childrens ability to spatially structure is essential for the development of insight into numerical relations. This insight involves the structuring (e.g., (de)composing) of quantities (e.g., understanding six to be three and three, but also five and one, or four and two, Hunting, 2003; Steffe, Cobb & Von Glasersfeld, 1988; Van den Heuvel-Panhuizen, 2001; Van Eerde, 1996; Van Nes & De Lange, 2007), which, in turn, is essential for the development of higher-order mathematical abilities such as counting and grouping (Van Eerde, 1996; Van den Heuvel-Panhuizen, 2001). Spatial structuring also underlies part-whole knowledge in addition, multiplication and division (e.g., 8 + 6 = 14 because 5 + 5 = 10 and 3 + 1 = 4 so 10 + 4 = 14), the ability to compare a number of objects (i.e., one dot in every one of four corners is less than the same configuration with a dot in the centre, Clements, 1999), to extend a pattern (i.e., repeating the structure, Papic & Mulligan, 2005, 2007), and to build a construction of blocks (i.e., relating characteristics and orientation

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of the constituent shapes and figures to each other, Battista et al., 1998; Van den HeuvelPanhuizen & Buijs, 2005). Towards an Instruction Theory on Spatial Structuring The ongoing research on the development of young childrens structuring and patterning ability calls for more insight into the characterization of the developmental trajectory, as well as into the influences that the instructional setting may have on chil drens development of spatial structuring ability. This implies that research must focus on designing interventions that foster childrens understanding of number sense and mathematical procedures starting as early as in a kindergarten1 setting. The principles of Realistic Mathematics Education (RME; Freudenthal, 1973, 1991; Gravemeijer, 1994; Treffers, 1987) offer guidelines for designing, conducting, and interpreting such research. The term realistic in Realistic Mathematics Education implies that the problem situation is set in a context that gives a problem meaning and that brings forward the mathematics that begs to be organized. At an initial level of learning, realistic does not have to be true in real life (e.g., it may be a context with fairy tale characters or a context in a mathematical setting), as long as it is experientially real to the student, so that it gives meaning to the students mathematical activity. Such a context can be motivating, but it is especially important that it acts as a model for stimulating personal strategies that can be used as building blocks for the mathematics that is the focus of the discussion. The intervention is aimed not only at cultivating young childrens spatial structuring ability, but also at contributing to an understanding of why a particular instructional setting may or may not support young childrens learning. This required cumulative cyclic, classroom-based design research (Gravemeijer & Cobb, 2006). Design research involves formulating, testing and refining a hypothetical learning trajectory (HLT) and a corresponding sequence of instructional activities for the teaching experiments. The HLT included testable conjectures that outlined how the intervention was expected to influence the childrens learning processes. These conjectures provided for a connection to an instruction theory about how young children can be supported in the development of their spatial structuring ability. The teaching experiments resulted in an empirically supported contribution to this instruction theory about the process of learning. This contribution includes a learning trajectory that is based on mathematical, psychological, and didactical insights about how the children are expected to progress towards an aspired level of reasoning (Gravemeijer, 1994; Gravemeijer & Cobb, 2006). Such a progression should take into account both the cognitive development of the individual students, as well as the social context (i.e. people, classroom culture and type of instruction) in which the teaching experiments are to take place (Cobb & Yackel, 1996; Gravemeijer & Cobb, 2006). In practice, such an instruction theory encompasses an instructional sequence, as well as a description of the coinciding learning processes, the classroom culture, and the proactive role of the teacher. Hence, by implementing a sequence of instructional activities in a classroom setting, we expected to create an ecologically valid instructional setting in which the children
1

In the Netherlands, K1 with four to five-year olds and K2 with five- to six-year olds form a part of primary school where children do not yet receive formal education.

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could interact with each other and with the teacher and learn about how to make use of spatial structures to simplify numerical procedures (Cobb & Yackel, 1996). Design and Research Methodology The first teaching experiment with the sequence of instructional activities resulted in data on the learning processes of the children and on the effects of the activities. The data, in turn, provided the input for a second run with a set of revised activities. This iterative procedure contributed to gain further insight into how the children were learning to make use of spatial structures as a means to shorten their numerical procedures. In this section we present the participants and setting of the research and explain the procedure for both rounds of teaching experiments. Participants and Setting The study was conducted in a kindergarten classroom at a local elementary school. The children at the school had mixed social and cultural backgrounds. The kindergarten class that participated in the experiment was a combined grade 1 and grade 2, for a total of 21 children that ranged in age from four to six years. Pre- and post-interviews were conducted with the children who participated in the experiment (i.e., the intervention group, IG) as well as with a comparable kindergarten class (i.e. the non-intervention group, NG) of 17 children who only participated in the pre- and post-interviews and not in the experiment. Although the NG was not strictly a control group, it was included in the research to enrich the analyses on the IG childrens post- compared to pre-interview performances by looking into whether these outcomes show any differences with the outcomes of the NG. Procedure for Round 1 The IG was taught by two teachers and these teachers performed the instructional activities with the class while the researcher observed and asked the children additional questions, helped to coordinate the activity, took field notes, videotaped the lesson and made last-minute revisions to the activity. The researcher discussed the activity with the teacher in the half hour before the lesson to prepare her for teaching the class on her own. The data consisted of video recordings of each of the instructional activities, the questionnaires that the teachers completed for debriefing, the log that was written about what happened during the activity, and additional notes from discussing the activity with the teacher before and after the session. The instructional sequence that was tried out in Round 1, consisted of six instructional activities that were inspired by literature, consultations with experts and classroom experiences. The focus of the activities progressed from a predominantly spatial focus (decomposing geometric shapes and patterning), to a spatial structuring focus (constructing with blocks and a type of Bingo game with dot configurations and double-structures), to finally a focus on number sense (structuring chips to keep count). The underlying conjecture was that childrens understanding of spatial structures can support them in recognizing, making use of, and applying spatial structures to shorten certain numerical procedures. As

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such, each activity was intended to draw on the insights that are the topic of discussion in the previous activity. Each instructional activity started as a classroom discussion that was guided by the teacher. Then the researcher took five children aside (the focus group), for more in-depth discussions and detailed observations of their approaches to the activity. After performing the instructional sequence with the IG, the childrens performance and the instructional setting was analyzed qualitatively. We focus in this paper on the observation that neither the children nor the teacher were explicitly or implicitly making reference to previous activities, while it was expected that they would make use of previously gained insights to approach the present activity. This suggests that a context was missing that could link the activities together. This inspired revisions to the instructional sequence, which were tried out in Round 2 with the IG as explained below. Procedure for Round 2 Considering our observations from Round 1, we decided that an overarching context could motivate the children and help them understand the essence of the activity and the use of tools that represent spatial structures in light of the previous activities and insights. An appealing context can also contribute to creating a shared vocabulary about spatial structuring. The teacher can, for example, guide the children towards a more spatial structuring approach by asking the children whether they remember how they used spatial structures in a previous activity and whether that strategy could help them in the present activity. As such, in Round 2 we introduced Ant and its Tool Box (in Dutch Miertje Maniertje and the ManiertjesDoos rhyme and the name sounds appealing to the children). Ant became an important figure in the experiment because it excited the children and its Tool Box played an important role in bridging each of the five activities. While in Round 1, each of the instructional activities had their own attractive contexts, in Round 2 Ants Tool Box became an overarching context. The significance of this is that it supported the children in making practical and theoretical connections between the activities themselves and between the insights that the children may have gained during the previous activities.

Figure 1. Ant and its Tool Box.

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We conjectured that a strong introduction would spur the childrens curiosity. Hence, to prepare for the first lesson, the box was placed in the middle of the classroom and the ant was hidden on a bookshelf. Several pieces of paper were spread out on the floor, leading from the entrance of the classroom to the box and beyond the box to the bookcase. On the papers were drawn two rows of three dots. These represented the footprints of the ant which it had left behind while carrying the box into the class for the children to find. The reason, then, for choosing an ant as the main character in this context is that an ant has six legs (i.e., a fundamental spatial structure), that the ants name conveniently relates to the name of the box in Dutch, and, finally, that ants appeal to childrens imagination. The Tool Box contained large cards with finger patterns, two large dice, large cards with playing card configurations, several egg cartons for six eggs and for ten eggs, and a box with several types of patterned bead necklaces. The story is that the Ant had tools that it wanted to share with the class because these could help the children to determine a quantity. By first agreeing to call the contents of the box Ants useful tools for determining a quantity, the teacher created a shared vocabulary with which she could repeatedly refer to Ant and its tools throughout the rest of the activities. In this way, she could refer to the contents of the box and stimulate the childrens spatial structuring approaches to a particular activity. The next section highlights several results that illustrate the influence of the overarching context on childrens spatial structuring strategies. Shortly after Round 2, the IG and NG children performed in a post-interview; the types of spatial structuring strategies that they used to solve the numerical interview tasks were quantitatively and qualitatively compared to the types of strategies they used on the preinterviews, which were conducted before the experiment. This was to provide more insight into whether and how the instructional sequence influenced the childrens development of spatial structuring. The teachers were also interviewed after Round 2 to evaluate how the experiment influenced their perspectives on teaching about spatial structuring and on the role of spatial structure in young childrens early mathematical development. Data Analysis The data was analyzed qualitatively with the help of the multimedia data analysis program ATLAS.ti. This program provides a format for organizing the raw data into clips that simplify the process of tracing behavioral patterns (Jacobs, Kawanaka & Stigler, 1999). After importing raw data in the form of, for example, a video, screenshots or scans of written work into the program, the researcher can organize the data in ATLAS.ti by segmenting the data into quotations (i.e., video clips or meaningful chunks; Stigler, Gallimore & Hiebert, 2000). Through adding comments to quotations, creating codes to label the quotations and linking the appropriate codes to specific quotations, we could make sense of how the children were solving the problems, how they were developing in their understanding, how the researcher, the teachers and the instructional activities had played a role in this development, and how proactive individual and classroom instruction could ultimately support the childrens learning. The insights were supplemented with data from the debriefings with the teachers and reflections on the interviews with the children and the classroom activities.

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Earlier in the research we had also developed a strategy inventory to gain insight into childrens level of spatial structuring ability as they performed the specially developed interview tasks. This strategy inventory was another reliable instrument (with a Cohens Kappa value of 0.87) for interpreting childrens behavioral patterns in the teaching experiment (Van Nes, 2009). As such, we studied significant episodes in the videos of the instructional activities and noted various underlying behavioral patterns. These meaningful episodes were subsequently summarized into several elements that appear crucial to the design of an effective instructional sequence. Analyses of these elements resulted in an empirically supported contribution to an instruction theory for fostering childrens spatial structuring ability. In the next section, we elaborate on the role of the context in the learning trajectory. The learning trajectory itself will be outlined in the discussion. Results In the analyses of the Round 2 of the teaching experiment, we were able to cluster observations that concern three areas in which the new overarching context of Ant and its Tool Box appeared to have contributed to the design of an effective instructional setting. The first area is childrens motivation and their identification with the instructional activities. Our analyses show how the context sparked the childrens interest and motivated them to participate in the activities; the children were excited to discover why Ant had left the Tool Box in the classroom, they were keen to unpack the box, and they started counting the egg cartons on their own initiative. One child recognized, for example, that the number of egg cartons he counted is how old I am. These kinds of remarks and reasoning created an opportunity for the teacher to start a discussion about what ways, other than unitary counting procedures, there are to, for example, determine a quantity.

Figure 2. The children are excited to explore the contents of the Tool Box The activity also appealed to childrens different levels of learning. This was observed when the teacher asked the children to determine the number of footprints on the papers on the floor, and one child counted the dots unitarily while another child recognized the structure for six as two rows of three. The discussion that followed encouraged the children to

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compare their strategies and see what role spatial structuring may play in shortening their counting procedures. Second, the context played an important role in connecting the activities and in stimulating childrens attention to spatial structures. In one activity, for example, the children were asked to determine the next layer of blocks in a 3D block construction, based on the structure of the layers at the bottom. The teacher could refer to the overarching context about Ant building its ant hill (i.e., the block construction) and ants marching in a procession (i.e., the previous patterning activity) to encourage the children to try to abstract the structure of the construction in the same way as they had done in the patterning activity. In this way the children understood better that they could make the ant hills taller by studying the structure of the construction. They said that in this way they could see better how its put together. Moreover, at the start of a new activity, the children vividly recalled the context of the preceding activities. They spontaneously talked about how they enjoyed the activity where Ant came to pick flowers. The children also remembered how the tools (i.e., the types of spatial structures) in the Tool Box helped them to see, for example, how many of something there are without having to count the objects unitarily. In this way, the children became familiar with the contents of the box and explored how the objects represent types of spatial structures that can support them in the activity. Finally, the context highlighted the important role of the teacher in supporting childrens learning. The Tool Box enabled the teacher to make reference to various types of spatial structures and to encourage children to associate unfamiliar arrangements of objects (e.g., flowers arranged in rows) with relatively familiar structures in the box (i.e., dot arrangements on dice). As such, she helped the children to compare various types of structures for one quantity (e.g., finger patterns and dice configurations to represent six) as well as to study how various quantities are represented with one structure (e.g., arrangements of eggs in an egg carton). Moreover, the shared vocabulary that the teacher established was manifested both during and after the experiment. An example of a shared phrase is easy ways to determine a quantity. Throughout the teaching experiment, the teacher and children used three, three, for example, as a shared way to describe the symmetrical structure of six as two rows of three. The significance of this is that, during the interviews that were held with the children individually after the experiment, children tended to use the same vocabulary and to refer to the instructional activity contexts to explain their approaches to the interview tasks. This suggests that the children were able to recognize a spatial structuring opportunity by translating their approach to the instructional activity to the interview setting. Overall, the qualitative analyses of the instruction experiment after Round 2 reflected benefits of an instructional setting that supports awareness of spatial structuring for fostering young childrens insight into numerical relations. In addition, the outcomes of the postinterviews showed, for example, that 18 out of the 21 intervention group children increasingly started referring to spatial structures and discussing the conveniences of spatial structuring procedures over unitary counting, through the use of the shared vocabulary. Moreover, the teachers who participated in the teaching experiment reported that they themselves had gained awareness of spatial structures as well as a greater appreciation for the importance of spatial structuring ability for young childrens mathematical development.

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Finally, one year after performing the experiment, it was observed that the teachers introduced Ant in their classroom instruction on their own initiative, and that several children spontaneously made reference to Ant in their practice at determining a quantity. Discussion and Conclusion In this paper we gave an impression of the role of the overarching context in helping children become more aware of the convenience of spatial structuring for simplifying and shortening mathematical procedures such as determining, comparing and operating with quantities. This research is part of a larger study that suggests that the context of Ant and its Tool Box contributed to the effectiveness of the instructional sequence and illustrate how an overarching context is an important component of an instructional setting that requires attention in the process of designing and revising a HLT for the development of young childrens spatial structuring ability (van Nes, 2009). The analyses of the two rounds of the experiment culminated in characteristics of a learning trajectory which are outlined in Figure 3 (cf. Gravemeijer, Bowers, & Stephan, 2003; Van Nes, 2009). We refer to the first column as Tools to indicate that our aim is for children to experience each activity as a natural follow-up of activities. The children should be able to recognize their earlier structuring activities in the new tool. That is the focus of the classroom discussion. Next, we describe the imagery (or history), which is the type of knowledge and experiences that the lesson builds on. The third column describes the activity that was performed. The last column includes the mathematical issues that should arise during the discussions about the activity. These issues are expected to inspire children towards new levels of understanding, and prepare them for the next activity in the sequence. As such, the instructional activities in the experiment progressed from the introduction of the context (i.e., the box and its contents), to two activities in which the children had the opportunity to explore the spatial structures of objects in the Tool Box, to two activities in which the children were challenged to use the relatively unfamiliar structures in the activity in the same way as they had used the structures in the box. Finally, in the last activity the children were encouraged to apply spatial structure to relatively larger unstructured configurations of objects as a means to shorten the process of determining and comparing quantities (Van Nes, 2009). Considering the explorative rather than confirmative nature of this design research, we are careful not to draw definite conclusions about the instructional sequence. Nevertheless, our research provides valuable insights for both scientific and practical purposes. The experiments have, for example, resulted in a sequence of instructional activities embedded in a context that helped those particular children who participated in this research become aware of spatial structures and of the convenience of making use of spatial structures in determining, comparing, and manipulating quantities. This complements Mulligan, Prescott and Mitchelmores (2004) spatial structuring developmental trajectory and it supplements their research with an instruction theory for fostering childrens progression in such a developmental trajectory.

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Tool A box containing ordinary objects that represent familiar spatial structures Objects that represent dot configurations (e.g., symmetric and double-structures, five-patterns)

Imagery Experiences in daily-life situations (e.g., playing with egg cartons, dice) Experiences in daily-life situations (e.g., playing with egg cartons, dice)

Activity Introducing Ant and the mystery of the Tool Box

Mathematical issues Exploring Ants Tool Box and creating awareness of similar spatial structures Exploring spatial structures as tools for recognizing, determining and comparing quantities (i.e., relating structures to quantities)

Recognizing and comparing dot configurations

Abstracted spatial structures

Spatial structures in daily- life situations

Recognizing and comparing structured and unstructured objects Creating and describing patterns

Using and comparing structures as tools for dealing with quantities (e.g., seeing 2 rows of 3 with 1 as 7 in a dot configuration) Abstracting structure from, and applying structure to patterns (e.g., 2-1-2-1 or 3-3-3) Patterning as a tool for analyzing 3-D constructions and numerical relations (e.g., layers of 4, 4, and 1 blocks makes 9 blocks) Structures and number relations as tools for organizing and comparing quantities

Patterning with children and with colors

Abstracted spatial structures (for (de)composing patterns)

Structured 3-D block Patterning for constructions (de)composing 3D constructions

Building and analyzing 3-D constructions and determining the number of blocks in the construction Determining and comparing unstructured quantities

Spatial structures

Daily life objects, symmetry, patterning, structures and connected quantities

Figure 3. Outline of a learning trajectory for the development of childrens spatial structuring ability (adapted from Van Nes, 2009). Taken together, the childrens and teachers excited and fruitful responses to the activities encourage more systematic investigations into the role of this instructional sequence in supporting childrens spatial structuring ability. The instructional sequence of activities could

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support those particular kindergartners who may already be at risk for developing mathematics learning problems with instruction that is tailored to appeal to their mathematical strengths (e.g., early spatial structuring ability) and interests as a way to approach their relative weaknesses (e.g., problems with counting). At the same time, it offers a framework of reference for planning instruction that can challenge high-achieving children (e.g., associating spatial structure with formal mathematical procedures such as multiplication). As such, the research may contribute to ways of furnishing a supportive instructional setting to cultivate childrens mathematical development and offer them a head start in their formal mathematics education. Acknowledgements This study was part of a project that was supported by the Research Council for Earth and Life Sciences (ALW) with financial aid from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), project number 051.04.050. The authors are grateful for the participation of the children and teachers in this study, and would like to thank the reviewers for their constructive comments on previous versions of this manuscript. References Battista, M. T., & Clements, D. H. (1996). Students understanding of three-dimensional rectangular arrays of cubes. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 27, 258292. doi: 10.2307/749365 Battista, M. T., Clements, D. H., Arnoff, J., Battista, K., & Van Auken Borrow, C. (1998). Students spatial structuring of two-dimensional arrays of squares. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 29, 503-532. doi: 10.2307/749731 Butterworth, B. (1999). The mathematical brain. London: Macmillan. Clements, D. H. (1999). Subitizing. What is it? Why teach it? Teaching Children Mathematics, 5(7), 400-405. Clements, D. H., & Sarama, J. (2007). Early childhood mathematics learning. In F. Lester (Ed.), Handbook of research on teaching and learning mathematics (2nd ed., pp. 461555). Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing. Cobb, P., & Yackel, E. (1996). Constructivist, emergent and sociocultural perspectives in the context of developmental research. Educational Psychologist, 31, 175-190. doi:10.1207/s15326985ep3103&4_3 Freudenthal, H. (1973). Mathematics as an educational task. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers. Freudenthal, H. (1991). Revisiting mathematics education: China lectures. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers. Gravemeijer, K. (1994). Developing realistic mathematics education. Utrecht, The Netherlands: CD- Press.

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Gravemeijer, K., Bowers, J., & Stephan, M. (2003). A hypothetical learning trajectory on measurement and flexible arithmetic. In M. Stephan, J. Bowers, P. Cobb, & K. Gravemeijer (Eds.), Supporting students development of measuring conceptions: Analyzing students' learning in social context (pp. 51-66). Reston: NCTM. Gravemeijer, K., & Cobb, P. (2006). Design research from the learning design perspective. In J. van den Akker, K. Gravemeijer, S. McKenney, & N. Nieveen (Eds.), Educational Design Research (pp. 45-85). London, Great Britain: Routledge. Hunting, R. P. (2003). Part-whole number knowledge in preschool children. Journal of Mathematical Behavior, 22, 217-235. doi:10.1016/S0732-3123(03)00021-X Jacobs, J. K., Kawanaka, T., & Stigler, J. W. (1999). Integrating qualitative and quantitative approaches to the analysis of video data on classroom teaching. International Journal of Educational Research, 31, 717-724. doi:10.1016/S0883-0355(99)00036-1 Mulligan, J. T., Mitchelmore, M. C., & Prescott, A. (2006a). Integrating concepts and processes in early mathematics: The Australian pattern and structure mathematics awareness project (PASMAP). In J Novotn, H. Moraov, M. Krtk, & N. Stehlkov (Eds.), Proceedings of the 30th annual conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (Vol. 4, pp. 209-216). Prague, Czech Republic: PME. Mulligan, J., Prescott, A., Papic, M., & Mitchelmore, M. (2006b). Improving early numeracy through a pattern and structure mathematics awareness program (PASMAP). In P. Grootenboer, R. Zevenbergen, & M. Chinnappan (Eds.), The Proceedings of the 29th Annual Conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia Conference. (pp. 376-383). Canberra: MERGA. Mulligan, J. T., Prescott, A., & Mitchelmore, M. C. (2004). Children's development of structure in early mathematics. In M. Hines & A. Fuglestad (Eds.), Proceedings of the 28th Annual Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (Vol. 3, pp. 393-401). Bergen, Norway: Bergen University College. Papic, M., & Mulligan, J. (2005). Preschoolers' mathematical patterning. In H. L. Chick, & J. L. Vincent (Eds.), The Proceedings of the 28th Mathematical Education Research Group of Australasia Conference (pp. 609-616). Melbourne: MERGA. Papic, M., & Mulligan, J. (2007). The growth of early mathematical patterning: An intervention study. In J. Watson, & K. Beswick (Eds.), The Proceedings of the 30th Annual Conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (pp. 591-600). Adelaide, Australia: MERGA. Steffe, L. P., Cobb, P., & Von Glasersfeld, E. (1988). Construction of arithmetical meanings and strategies. New York: Springer Verlag. Stigler, J. W., Gallimore, R., & Hiebert, J. (2000). Using video surveys to compare classrooms and teaching across cultures: Examples and lessons from the TIMSS video studies. Educational Psychologist, 35(2), 87-100. doi:10.1207/S15326985EP3502_3

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Treffers, A. (1987). Three dimensions: A model of goal and theory description in mathematics instruction-The Wiskobas project. Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Reidel. Van den Heuvel-Panhuizen, M. (2001). Children learn mathematics: A learning-teaching trajectory with intermediate attainment targets for calculation with whole numbers in primary school. Utrecht, The Netherlands: Freudenthal Institute. Van den Heuvel-Panhuizen, M., & Buijs, K. (2005). Young children learn measurement and geometry. A learning-teaching trajectory with intermediate attainment targets for the lower grades in primary school. Utrecht, The Netherlands: Freudenthal Institute. Van Eerde, H. A. A. (1996). Kwantiwijzer: Diagnostiek in reken-wiskundeonderwijs [Kwantiwijzer: Diagnostics in mathematics education]. Tilburg, the Netherlands: Zwijsen bv. Van Nes, F. T. (2009). Young childrens spatial structuring ability and emerging number sense. Ph.D. Dissertation. Utrecht University, Netherlands. Van Nes, F., & De Lange, J. (2007). Mathematics education and neurosciences: Relating spatial structures to the development of spatial sense and number sense. The Montana Mathematics Enthusiast, 4(2), 210-229. Authors Fenna van Nes, PhD, Scandpower, Oslo, Norway; fennavannes@gmail.com Michiel Doorman, Dr., Freudenthal Institute for Science and Mathematics Education, Utrecht, The Netherlands; m.doorman@uu.nl

International Electronic Journal of Mathematics Education IJM

Vol.6, No.1

Pre-Service and In-Service Teachers Views of the Sources of Students Mathematical Difficulties Erhan Bingolbali University of Gaziantep Hatice Akko University of Marmara M. Fatih Ozmantar University of Gaziantep Servet Demir University of Gaziantep
This paper examines the views of pre-service and in-service teachers with regard to the sources of students mathematical difficulties. A group of 40 pre-service mathematics, 15 in-service mathematics and 15 in-service elementary teachers participated in this study. Questionnaires are used as data collection tools to see what the participants think about the sources of student difficulties. The notion of obstacles to learning is used as a framework to analyze the collected data. The analysis is carried out on the basis of three main categories to which participant teachers attribute students difficulties : epistemological causes, psychological causes and pedagogical causes. The data analysis reveals that both pre-service and in-service teachers tend to attribute students difficulties to student-related factors, namely psychological causes. We discuss the findings in terms of these three sources of learning difficulties, educational implications and note the usefulness of the employing the obstacles to learning framework in examining not only students learning difficulties but also teachers views of the sources for student difficulties. Keywords: obstacles to learning, sources of students mathematical difficulties, teacher views

Students in all grade levels find the learning of mathematics difficult. A close inspection of subjectspecific studies conducted within the last four decades in mathematics education literature easily vindicates this proposition. Common to all these studies (Hart et al., 1980; Tall, 1991) are the findings showing lack of students understanding of and difficulties with mathematical concepts. In other words, these studies collectively show that students have difficulties with many mathematical concepts taught in different level of their schooling. Why is this so? What can be sources of students mathematical learning difficulties? Equally important is what teachers actually think about sources of students mathematical difficulties. The latter question is the primary focus of this paper and we aim to investigate how teachers view sources of students mathematical difficulties and provide insights into sources of these difficulties. Literature Review Earlier mathematics education studies (Hart et al., 1980; Tall & Vinner, 1981; Tall, 1991) generally focus on students conceptions regarding various mathematical concepts. A quick examination of journals and proceedings such as Educational Studies in Mathematics and

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Psychology of Mathematics Education can easily justify this observation. The main focus of these studies is the students understanding of and difficulties with mathematical concepts. The importance of the influence of teachers and the teaching on students mathematical learning has started to receive attention, especially within the last two decades. Teachers attitudes (Philippou & Christou, 1998), beliefs (Stipek, Givvin, Salmon, & MacGyvers, 2001), subject matter knowledge (Linchevski & Vinner, 1988), pedagogical content knowledge (An, Kulm, & Wu, 2004) and technological pedagogical content knowledge (Niess et al., 2009) have all become main research areas in teacher education. Teachers perspective and competency with regard to all these areas can influence what and how students learn mathematics. Related studies, in fact, have provided empirical evidence that teachers subject matter knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, as well as their beliefs related to mathematics, have strong influences on students mathematics learning (Ball, Thames, & Phelps, 2008; Verschaffel, Greer, & Torbeyns, 2006; Askew, Brown, Rhodes, William, & Johnson, 1997; Brown, Askew, Rhodes, William, & Johnson, 1997; Lamb & Booker, 2004; McClain & Bowers, 2000). One can infer from these studies that students difficulties and lack of understanding cannot solely be attributed to their own limitations. Teachers beliefs, attitudes, subject matter knowledge and pedagogical knowledge can all have dramatic influences on how students learn and why students do not learn. It is, therefore, important to look at to what extent teachers are aware of their own roles alongside some other factors other than students characteristics or student-related factors in the occurrence of students learning difficulties and what they regard as sources of such difficulties. This is important to examine because, to us, how teachers view sources of the students difficulties may shape how they go about teaching. It appears that teachers views of sources of the students difficulties have received less research attention in both general and mathematics education literature. One of these studies comes from Penso (2002) on Biology pre-service teachers. Penso (2002) examines how preservice teachers identify and describe the causes of pupils learning difficulties. The findings obtained from 40 pre-service teachers through the use of observations and teaching diaries show that they attribute sources of difficulties to (1) the pupil (cognitive and affective characteristics); (2) the content (aspects of the contents of the lesson); (3) the teacher (the teaching methods); and (4) the lesson (the learning atmosphere). Amongst these sources, the characteristics of the pupils were cited most frequently as a source of the difficulties whereas the content, the teacher and the lesson sources received the least citations. Although not always reported, such findings are not surely only limited to the participants of Pensos study. Perspectives that the participants in Pensos study hold with regard to the students learning difficulties are, to us, commonly shared by many teachers. To that end, for instance, Floden (1996) states that when students do not learn or understand, teachers generally tend to attribute the problem to the inadequacy of the students or lack of their motivation, but not to the instruction to which they were exposed. Holding only students responsible for the failure or lack of understanding, nevertheless, is as we believe neither right nor fair. The roles that teachers play in the emergence of students learning difficulties should not and cannot be neglected.

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In fact, Shulman (1986, p.9) has also drawn attention to the importance of the role of teachers in handling student difficulties and that is why he has regarded teachers understanding of what makes the learning of specific topics easy or difficult as a component of pedagogical content knowledge (PCK). With particular regard to PCK, Shulman (1986, p.9-10) states the following: Pedagogical content knowledge also includes an understanding of what makes the learning of specific topics easy or difficult: the conceptions and preconceptions that students of different ages and backgrounds bring with them to the learning of those most frequently taught topics and lessons. If those preconceptions are misconceptions, which so often are, teachers need knowledge of the strategies most likely to be fruitful in reorganizing the understanding of learners, because those learners are unlikely to appear before them as blank slates. We agree with Shulman that students conceptions and preconceptions have deep influence on what and how they learn, and teachers awareness of the students preconceptions in this regard is important. Important, however, also is what teachers do think about sources of students learning difficulties as their views regarding sources can shape how they conduct the teaching. Theoretical Framework Although the abovementioned literature points out the teacher tendency to attribute learning difficulties mainly to students and their own limitations, the reality is not necessarily so. The students difficulties in learning mathematics and sources of these difficulties can be related to many other factors, including teachers themselves and the teaching. For a comprehensive appreciation of sources of students difficulties, we find the theoretical framework of obstacles to learning helpful. We find this framework useful in examining not only sources of student difficulties but also teachers views of sources of students difficulties. Inspired by the work of Bachelard (1938/2002) on epistemological obstacles, Brousseau (1997) and later on Cornu (1991) introduce epistemological, psychological (cognitive) and pedagogical (didactical) obstacles in an attempt to make sense of students mathematical difficulties. Cornu (1991), based on the work of Brousseau (1997), describes epistemological obstacles as occurring due to the nature of the mathematical concepts themselves. In elucidating epistemological obstacles, Cornu (1991, p. 159) cites Bachelard (1938/2002) and indicates that epistemological obstacles occur both in the historical development of scientific thought and in educational practice. To Bachelard, epistemological obstacles have two fundamental features: They are unavoidable and essential constituents of knowledge to be acquired, They are found, at least in part, in the historical development of the concept (cited in Cornu, 1991, p. 159). As these features suggest, epistemological obstacles may well reside in the nature of the concepts to be learnt. For that reason, an epistemological obstacle is often viewed as a piece of, not a lack of, knowledge, which is interpreted as functioning well within a frequently

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experienced, but limited context, and not being generalizable beyond it (Selden & Selden, 2001; Brousseau, 1997). Epistemological obstacles also, as the second feature suggests, were encountered by the scientists during the historical development of the concepts. The difficulties and dilemmas that the scientists encountered during the construction process of the concepts can well be taken as an evidence of epistemological obstacles that the concepts pose. To exemplify the presence of epistemological obstacles, several researchers focus on the limit concept and its historical development (Sierpinska, 1987; Cornu, 1991). Cornu (1991), for instance, presents several epistemological obstacles regarding the limit concept. One of epistemological obstacles that he presents is related to the idea of whether the limit is attained or not. He notes that the debate around this issue lasted throughout the history of the concept and there were disagreements and different interpretations amongst mathematicians. He provides the views of Robins (1697-1751), Jurin (1685-1750) and DAlembert (1717-1783) regarding this issue and quotes Robins and DAlembert actually stating that the limit can never be attained and Jurin stating that the limit can be attained. Herein it is critical to note that Robins and DAlemberts interpretation of the limit concept was different from its current interpretation; as it is now accepted that the limits of, for instance, constant functions are attainable. Interestingly, the studies that have been carried out regarding students conceptions of the limit concept show similar interpretations amongst the students as well (Williams, 1991; Cornu, 1991; Akbulut & Ik, 2005). These studies clearly show that what has been the problem or obstacle for the scientists may well be a problem or obstacle for the students as well. This similarity can be taken as an evidence for the existence of epistemological obstacles that the limit concept presents due to its nature. Epistemological obstacles can hence be interpreted as causing difficulties for the students and be sources of the difficulties that students encounter. In this paper, we consider students difficulties related to epistemological obstacles as being epistemological and use the term epistemological causes while referring to the difficulties arising from the nature of concepts. With regard to psychological obstacles, Cornu (1991) describes them as occurring because of the personal development of the students1. Such factors as students abilities, capabilities, motivation, prior conceptions and knowledge, learning experience regarding the concept to be learnt, ways of thinking and developmental stages all influence how students learn and sometimes explain why they have difficulties in learning. These factors can sometimes be the sources of students difficulties in learning mathematical concepts. We refer to such factors as psychological causes of student difficulties. Students conceptions like multiplication always makes bigger can be given as an example of psychological cause. This conceptualization of multiplication, normally, generates correct responses as far as whole numbers are concerned. It presents, however, an over-generalization as this cannot apply to rational numbers (Graeber, 1993). This example essentially suggests that students sometimes over-generalize what they learn and that can
1

It should be noted here that Brousseau (1997) describes psychological (ontogenetic) obstacles mainly as occurring due to the limitation of the student at some period of his/her development and he does not provide further information on this issue. In this paper, however, we use the term psychological obstacles in a more comprehensive way for the purpose of our analysis.

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cause them to make errors in the learning of successive concepts. In the words of Shulman (1986), students prior conceptions or misconceptions influence how and what they learn and it is sometimes these conceptions that can cause the learning difficulties for students. With regard to pedagogical obstacles, Cornu (1991) describes them as occurring as a result of the nature of the teaching and the teacher2. Although Cornu (1991) does not provide much detail regarding this issue, we consider pedagogical obstacles in relation to such factors as teachers teaching approaches, teachers use of analogies and metaphors, course books and the way concepts and topics are being covered in the textbooks and curricula. To use a more generic expression, we use the term pedagogical causes of student difficulties in explaining pedagogy-caused student difficulties in learning a concept. An example will be helpful to illustrate a pedagogy-caused student difficulty. Tanner (2000) states that teachers generally use fruit and salad approach to introduce the addition of two algebraic expressions, such as, 2a+3b in algebra teaching. This kind of expression is often explained to students by teachers through the use of some materials, such as 2 apples and 3 bananas. However, Pimm (1987), as cited in Tirosh, Even, and Robinson (1998), puts forward reservations regarding this approach, warns against its potential role in causing learning difficulties for students and notes that it leads to confusion between a being apples and a being the number of apples...The algebraic expression is not an analog of 5 apples, nor is 5 apples a possible interpretation of 5a the letters themselves are standing for numbers (p.132). In fact, some studies have shown the disadvantages of using this approach in introducing algebraic expressions. Booth (1988), for example, shows that some students thought that the expression 2a + 5b is equal to 7ab on the grounds that 2 apples plus 5 bananas is 7 apples-and-bananas. Tirosh et al. (1998) also point out that this approach may lead students to think algebraic expressions, such as 2a and 3b, cannot be multiplied, that is one cannot multiply apples and bananas. All these suggest that sometimes the way materials are used and the way the teaching is conducted can be the causes of, or at least play a role in the emergence of, student learning difficulties for mathematical concepts. Although we have presented these obstacles separately, it is often almost impossible to attribute student difficulties to just one particular obstacle and that the difficulty can stem from any combination of these obstacles. Further to this, in this paper we interpret obstacles more than just only being as pieces of knowledge and regard them as being sources of the student difficulties as well. For us, epistemological, psychological and pedagogical obstacles are the causes of students learning difficulties and we will employ the terms epistemological, psychological and pedagogical causes while referring to the sources of learning difficulties in this paper. How we employ this framework in this study is detailed in the following sections. The Study: Background and Data Collection Methods The theme of this article emerged from two ongoing large projects being conducted on pre-service and in-service teachers in Turkey. The first project is related to integration of
2

The same situation is the case for pedagogical obstacles too. Brousseau (1997) describes pedagogical (didactical) obstacles mainly as happening due to the choice of the educational system (didactic transposition). Here we, nevertheless, use the term in a more inclusive way for our purposes.

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technology into teaching mathematics. More specifically the aim is to develop pre-service secondary mathematics teachers technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPCK). Broadly speaking, for this aim, the TPCK framework proposed by Mishra and Koehler (2006) was employed in designing a two-semester course for pre-service secondary mathematics teachers to successfully integrate technology into teaching. During the first semester, two workshops were consecutively carried out. The first workshop was on PCK (Shullman, 1986) and the second was on the TPCK where the technology component was brought into the picture. Alongside many other activities, pre-service teachers participated in these two workshops, prepared lesson plans before and after each workshop and a subgroup of them did micro-teaching before their peers after each workshop. After attending the course developed in light of the TPCK framework in the first semester, the participant teachers went to the schools for applications in the second semester under the guidance of their mentor lecturers (for more on the project and the details, see, Ozmantar, Akko, Bingolbali, Demir, & Ergene, 2010; Akko, Bingolbali, & Ozmantar, 2008). A group of 40 pre-service teachers participated in this first project. They initially took a three-and-half year mathematics program and then enrolled the secondary mathematics teacher preparation program. The preparation program took one and a half year and only upon successful completion of this program could pre-service teachers obtain the right to teach mathematics at the secondary level (teaching students aged from 15 to 19). The data for this paper were collected in the last two semesters of their preparation program. Before taking part in the PCK workshop, we wanted to gain insights into the pre-service teachers PCK. As part of this aim, we developed a questionnaire asking pre-service teachers to respond to the following open-ended questions alongside some other sub-questions: (1) What can be the causes of the students difficulties in learning a mathematical concept? (2) What are the multiple representations of a mathematical concept? (3) What are the role of teachers with regard to teaching methods and strategies for an efficient mathematics teaching? (4) What do you think that the purpose of the assessment is? (5) What kind of mathematics teaching approach that the mathematics curriculum proposes? These questions were formulated on the basis of the components of PCK suggested by Grossman (1990) and Magnusson, Krajcik, and Borko (1999) (for more on this, see, Ozmantar et al., 2010). For the purpose of this paper, however, we focus our attention only on pre-service teachers responses to the question, what can be the causes of the students difficulties in learning a mathematical concept?3 The second project, on the other hand, is concerned with the professional development of in-service elementary teachers, elementary mathematics teachers and elementary science and
3

It should be noted that we intentionally kept the questionnaire items general rather than specific to a particular concept as our aim was to unveil teachers overall understanding of sources of students learning difficulties in mathematics. This was due to the conviction that what teachers regard as the sources would appear in their answers and that would tell something about their perspectives on learning and teaching. For instance, if a teacher (be a primary, elementary or university teacher) considers that his way of teaching is important for his students learning, then this will perhaps appear in his/her answer.

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technology teachers. The project aims to create and scale up a professional development program in order to assist teachers to put a recently developed constructivist-oriented curriculum in Turkey into practice and to help them overcome the difficulties that they likely to encounter during the implementation of it. The professional development program aims to equip teachers with the skills and knowledge that is essential for the creation of a learning environment in which students get such skills as problem solving, scientific thinking, creative thinking, communication, and critical thinking. In order to create this learning environment, teachers participated in a training program with the following six areas: (1) establishing classroom norms for the improvement of students autonomy, (2) overcoming student difficulties and misconceptions, (3) task design and implementation, (4) problem solving and meta-cognition, (5) technology integration, and (6) assessment and evaluation. A cohort of 45 teachers (15 elementary teachers, 15 elementary mathematics teachers and 15 elementary science and technology teachers) have been taking part in the in-service teacher professional development program4. The teachers teaching experiences range from one to sixteen years and they are selected amongst nearly 200 teachers who wanted to join the in-service training. The selection criteria were that the applicant should be willing to attend the training sessions on a regular basis, that they were prepared to implement new teaching methods suggested during the project, and that enthusiastic to work in close collaboration with the project team. In the time of writing this paper, the teachers have already taken part in the first three training areas (classroom norms, student difficulties and misconceptions and task design) that have lasted for three months. During their training, the participant teachers have joined sessions held by academics, designed lesson plans, conducted teaching along with their plans, and evaluated their instructions by reflecting upon video-recorded classroom practices of their colleagues. The data that we used for the purpose of this paper from this project came from students difficulties and misconceptions training area. The teachers participated in training that basically focused on student difficulties and misconceptions, sources of these difficulties (epistemological, psychological and pedagogical) and devised plans to overcome them in their teaching. This training lasted for four weeks and was carried out in the four consecutive sessions during the weekends. Before the training on student difficulties and misconceptions started, we administered a questionnaire including one particular item asking teachers to explain what they think about the sources of student difficulties and misconceptions. All the participant teachers responded to this item. However here in this paper we do not examine the views of science and technology teachers as they were not responsible for teaching mathematics. Yet we focus on elementary mathematics teachers as well as elementary teachers who were responsible for teaching mathematics to the students of early ages (5-12 year-olds). Hence we consider the views of 30 teachers (15 mathematics and 15 elementary teachers)
4

In Turkey, there is a clear distinction between elementary teachers and elementary mathematics teachers. Elementary teachers teach grades 1-5 (students aged from 7 to 12) and are generally held responsible to teach five main subjects (Turkish language, mathematics, science and technology, life sciences and social sciences) to the same group of students. Elementary mathematics teachers, on the other hand, teach students aged from 12 to 15 at the middle school level but still considered under elementary education since elementary education in Turkey covers grades 1-8. This second group of teachers are graduates of mathematics education departments in faculties of education.

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In sum, our aim in both projects, with regard to the focus of this paper, is to explore how pre-service and in-service teachers view the causes of student difficulties in learning mathematics. Data Analysis Procedure To analyze pre-service and in-service teachers responses to the questions of what can be the causes of the students learning difficulties, we employ three main categories in the theoretical framework of the study as explained previously: epistemological causes, psychological causes and pedagogical causes. Others category is also employed when the participants views do not fit into any one of these three categories. We thus use four categories in total to analyze the participants responses and we now explain what these categories stand for through examples from the participants responses. Table 1 The definitions of categories employed for the data analysis
Categories Definition of categories Examples from teachers responses Students difficulties can be due to; The difficulties that the concepts pose, The abstractness of the concepts, Mathematics not being connected to real life Lack of prior knowledge, Negative attitudes (prejudice), Lack of motivation and interest Lack of ability Lack of self- confidence Lack of understanding of concepts

Epistemological Responses that cite the causes difficult nature of and abstractness of mathematical concepts Psychological causes Responses that cite studentrelated reasons

Pedagogical causes

Responses that cite teachers and teaching-related reasons

Teachers lack of knowledge or competency Teachers attitudes Not teaching in a comprehensible manner for students Use of inappropriate teaching approaches Economic situations Lack of family interest Lack of teaching materials Lack of infrastructure Unclear responses

Other causes

Responses that cite reasons not fitted into the above three categories

In analyzing the data, the responses of the participants were separately examined and then allocated to each of these categories based on their descriptions. For instance, when a participant cites a student-related factor in explaining why students have difficulties with a mathematical concept, then this participants response is allocated to psychological causes category. However, when participants mention more than one factor, in this case their responses are allocated to more than one category. It should be noted that the allocation of responses to the categories was carried out by the two authors of the paper independently.

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Initially, there was over 90% agreement, and later on, the disputed items were discussed until an agreement was reached for the assignment of each participants response to a category. After the allocations of the responses, we carried out the data analysis in three stages. First, the frequency analysis of the causes that participant responses generated was performed on the basis of four categories. Second, we focused on the frequency of the suggested causes assigned to only one category and this process generated three sub-categories: only epistemological causes, only psychological causes and only pedagogical causes. Finally, we carried out a further analysis of epistemological, psychological, pedagogical and other causes and developed sub-categories to provide insight into participants concrete views regarding the sources of student difficulties. Results In this section we present our findings regarding pre-service and in-service teachers together. Before presenting the results, as mentioned above, it should be noted that a teachers response sometimes was allocated to more than one category when the response had causes related to more than one category. Table 2 The frequency analysis of pre-service and in-service teachers causes
Categories Pre-service teachers (n=40) n=7 (17.5%) n=32 (80%) n=20 (50%) n=5 (12.5%) In-service teachers (n=30) n=3 (10%) n=25 (83.3%) n=11 (36.6%) n=8 (26.6%) In-service teachers in groups Elementary mathematics Elementary teachers (n=15) teachers (n=15) n=3 (20%) n=14 (93.3%) n=3 (20%) n=5 (33.3%) n=0 (-%) n=11 (73.3%) n=8 (53.3%) n=3 (20%)

Epistemological causes Psychological causes Pedagogical causes Other causes

Table 2 shows that 17.5% of pre-service, 10% of in-service (i.e., 20% of elementary mathematics and none of elementary) teachers refer to epistemological causes in explaining sources of the students mathematical difficulties. Regarding psychological causes, the study reveals that 80% of pre-service and 83.3% of in-service teachers attribute students mathematical difficulties to the psychological causes. However, it is the group of elementary mathematics teachers that refers to the psychological causes the most (93.3%) and it is the group of the elementary teachers that refers to psychological causes the least (73.3%). The analysis also reveals that 50% of pre-service, 36.6% of in-service (20% of mathematics and 53.3% of classroom) teachers attribute students difficulties to pedagogical causes. Further to this analysis, as mentioned above, a frequency of the responses assigned to only one category was also carried out. The findings obtained from this analysis reveal similar patterns. Table 3 shows that both pre-service (35%) and in-service teachers (33.3%) cite the psychological causes alone the most for sources of students learning difficulties.

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None of the elementary mathematics and elementary teachers and only 10% of pre-service teachers refers to epistemological causes alone for sources of students difficulties. Table 3 also demonstrates that 13.3% of the classroom teachers, none of the mathematics teachers and 5% of pre-service teachers attribute students difficulties to pedagogical causes alone. Table 3 The frequency teachers responses citing only one category of causes
Categories Pre-service teachers (n=40) n=4 (10%) n=14 (35%) n=2 (5%) n=0 (-%) In-service teachers (n=30) n=0 (-%) n=10 (33.3%) n=2 (6%) n=0 (-%) In-service teachers in groups Elementary mathematics Elementary teachers (n=15) teachers (n=15) n=0 (-%) n=6 (40%) n=0 (-%) n=0 (-%) n=0 (-%) n=4 (26.6%) n=2 (13.3%) n=0 (-%)

Only epistemological causes Only psychological causes Only pedagogical causes Only other causes

In addition to the above analysis, the following four tables (Tables 4-7) present further analysis of epistemological, psychological, pedagogical and other causes. Sub-categories column in the tables illustrates the categories emerged from the further analysis of the participant responses. Examples from participant responses column, for instance, presents some cited causes from teachers answers to the questionnaire items. Table 4 Further analysis of epistemological causes
Sub-Categories Examples from participant responses Pre-service teachers (n=40) In-service In-service teachers in groups teachers Elementary Elementary (n=30) mathematics teachers teachers (n=15) (n=15) n=2 (7%) n=2 (13%) n=0 (-%)

Mathematics being abstract and/or not related to real life

Difficulties are due to mathematics consisting of abstract concepts and being unrelated to real life Due to the difficulties that the nature of concept poses

n=5 (12.5%)

The nature of concepts

n=2 (5%)

n=1 (3%)

n=1 (7%)

n=0 (-%)

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Table 4 illustrates the further analysis on epistemological causes. The table shows that both pre-service and in-service elementary mathematics teachers refer to the causes of mathematical concepts being as abstract and of the nature of concepts to explain sources of students difficulties, which we consider within the scope of epistemological causes. Note that no elementary teacher refers to epistemological causes. Table 5 Further analysis of psychological causes
Sub-Categories Examples from participant responses Pre-service teachers (n=40) In-service In-service teachers in groups teachers Elementary Elementary (n=30) mathematics teachers teachers (n=15) (n=15) n=12 (40%) n=5 (17%) n=8 (53%) n=1 (7%) n=4 (27%) n=4 (27%)

Prior knowledge or its deficiency Negative attitudes (prejudice)

Lack of prior knowledge Negative attitudes: maths is difficult

n=21 (52.5%) n=12 (30%)

Lack of motivation Not being and interest sufficiently interested in concepts Lack of ability Lack of selfconfidence Dislike of math or the topics Lack of intelligence Not being confident Maths is seen as boring and not likable by many students Not comprehending the concept Lack of efforts

n=6 (15%)

n=11 (37%)

n=8 (53%)

n=3 (20%)

n= 7 (17.5%) n=3 (7.5%) n=2 (5%)

n= 2 (7%) n=0 (-%) n=1 (3%)

n=1 (7%) n=0 (-%) n=0 (-%)

n=1 (7%) n=0 (-%) n=1 (7%)

Lack of understanding of concepts Lack of efforts

n=0 (-%) n=1 (2.5%)

n=7 (23%) n=0 (-%)

n=5 (33%) n=0 (-%)

n=2 (13%) n=0 (-%)

Table 5 demonstrates that 52.5% of pre-service, 40% of in-service teachers (53% of mathematics teachers and 27% of elementary teachers) referred to prior knowledge or its deficiency to explain why students have difficulties with mathematical concepts. The category of negative attitudes (prejudice) was the second most cited by pre-service teachers whilst the category of lack of motivation and interest was the second most cited by inservice teachers. Elementary mathematics teachers cited lack of understanding of concepts more than elementary teachers, and pre-service teachers did not refer to this category at all.

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Table 6 Further analysis of pedagogical causes


Sub-Categories Examples from participant responses Mathematics teachers lack of understanding of math topics Teachers not taking his/her lesson seriously Teaching concepts in an abstract manner Students misconceptions can be due to the way the concept is taught Teachers might not be able to draw students attention Not presenting sufficient explanations and examples Not determining students readiness Pre-service teachers (n=40) n=5 (12.5%) In-service teachers (n=30) n=0 (-%) In-service teachers in groups Elementary Elementary mathematics teachers teachers (n=15) (n=15) n=0 (-%) n=0 (-%)

Teachers lack of knowledge or competency

Teachers attitudes

n=4 (10%)

n=1 (3%)

n=0 (-%)

n=1 (7%)

Not teaching in a comprehensible manner Use of inappropriate teaching approaches

n=6 (15%)

n=5 (17%)

n=1 (7%)

n=4 (27%)

n=3 (7.5%)

n=2 (7%)

n=1 (7%)

n=1 (7%)

Not holding students attention

n=0 (-%)

n=2 (7%)

n=1 (7%)

n=1 (7%)

Not doing consolidation

n=0 (-%)

n=2 (7%)

n=0 (-%)

n=2 (13%)

Not determining students preparedness

n=0 (-%)

n=1 (3%)

n=0 (-%)

n=1 (7%)

Table 6 presents a detailed analysis of pedagogical causes. The findings reveal that 12.5% of pre-service teachers and none of in-service teachers cited teachers lack of knowledge or competency. In-service teachers cited not teaching in a comprehensible manner category the most (17%) to explain the reasons behind the student difficulties. Use of inappropriate teaching approaches is also mentioned by both groups. Further to that, in-service teachers but not pre-service teachers referred to teachers not holding students attention, not doing consolidation, and not determining students preparedness. As seen in Table 7, both pre-service and in-service teachers mentioned the economic situation of a students family, lack of a students family interest and friends as a reason for

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why some students have difficulties with mathematics. Mathematics teachers (20%) refer to this category the most to explain why students have difficulties. Table 7 Further analysis of other causes
Sub-Categories Examples from participants responses Family, environment, economical situation No consolidation Pre-service teachers (n=40) n=4 (10%) In-service teachers (n=30) n=4 (13%) In-service teachers in groups Elementary Elementary mathematics teachers teachers (n=15) (n=15) n=3 (20%) n=1 (7%)

Lack of economic situation or family interest or friends Unclear responses

n=2 (5%)

n=3 (10%)

n=2 (13%)

n=1 (7%)

Discussion The data presented so far show that both pre-service and in-service teachers attribute students difficulties in mathematics mainly to the psychological causes. It is interesting to note here that these findings show similarities with the results of Pensos (2002) study. In fact, Pensos (2002) study demonstrates that 80% and 55% of pre-service teachers refer to pupil characteristics in explaining sources of students difficulties respectively at the observation stage and at the teaching stage. Our findings also reveal that in-service elementary mathematics teachers tend to attribute students learning difficulties to psychological causes more than the other groups do. Further analysis of psychological causes in Table 5 shows that both pre-service (52.5%) and in-service teachers (40%) referred to prior knowledge or its deficiency the most to explain the sources of students mathematical difficulties. It is interesting to note that elementary mathematics teachers (53%) referred to prior knowledge or its deficiency more than elementary teachers (27%) did. The role of prior knowledge and its deficiency in the learning is a well-known and well-articulated issue in education (Ausubel, 1968; Resnick, 1983; Shulman, 1986). In this connection, Resnick (1983), for instance, notes that students do not come to classrooms as blank slates and that they come to learning environment with already well-established ideas, conceptions and theories. These conceptions, ideas and theories or their deficiencies can sometimes hinder students learning and even be the causes of students learning difficulties. It is perhaps this reality that makes Ausubel (1968, p.68) claims that the most important single factor influencing learning is what the learner already knows. The participant teachers of this study also appear to be well aware of the influence of students prior knowledge and/or deficiency on their learning. Among the psychological causes, negative attitudes (prejudice) was the second most cited reason by pre-service teachers while lack of motivation and interest was the second most cited reason by in-service teachers. The reason that in-service teachers referred to lack of motivation and interest more than pre-service teachers was perhaps because they had

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material experience of teaching to the students, but pre-service teachers had not. Further to that, elementary mathematics teachers (33%) attributed students difficulties to lack of understanding of concepts more than elementary teachers (13%) and in fact none of preservice teachers referred to this category. Lack of ability, lack of self-confidence and dislike of mathematics were also cited by both groups of pre-service and in-service teachers. Similar to Pensos (2002) results, our findings also show that pedagogical causes were the second largest category cited by teachers to explain sources of students difficulties. Further analysis on pedagogical causes presented in Table 6 also show that in-service teachers referred to not teaching in a comprehensible manner category most (17%) to explain the reasons behind the students difficulties. This category was particularly cited by the elementary teachers with 27%. Moreover, it was pre-service teachers, but not in-service teachers, who referred to the teachers lack of knowledge or competency to explain sources of students difficulties. This suggests that it was possible for pre-service teachers to easily cite teachers lack of knowledge or competency as they themselves were still students but this was not the case for in-service teachers at all. On the other hand, it was in-service teachers but not pre-service teachers who referred to teachers not holding students attention, not doing consolidation, and not determining students preparedness to give an account of students mathematical difficulties. These categories suggest that in-service teachers referred to teachers classroom practices to make sense of students difficulties as they were practicing teachers but that was not the case for pre-service teachers who had not yet been in the real business of teaching. With regard to epistemological causes, the findings reveal that this category was the least cited amongst the three categories. A close examination of these findings also suggests that pre-service and in-service elementary mathematics teachers referred to epistemological causes but elementary teachers did not. We do not have concrete evidence to explain this difference, but we assume that pre-service and in-service mathematics teachers have more material experience with teaching mathematics, which might have prompted them to attribute students difficulties to epistemological causes more than the elementary teachers did. On the other hand, with regard to other causes, the findings show that it is actually inservice elementary mathematics teacher group (20%) that attributed student difficulties to such other causes as family and socio-economic situations the most in explaining the sources of the students difficulties (see Table 7). The mathematics group was followed by preservice teachers and elementary teachers respectively. Common to all these participants views was that the lack of family interest in and contribution to a students education was considered as a reason for learning difficulties with mathematics. All these findings presented and discussed so far show that both pre-service and inservice teachers tend to attribute learning difficulties primarily to the students and studentrelated causes. This is, to a degree, understandable and justifiable as teachers continuously see students failing mathematics and experiencing serious difficulties learning it. Some student difficulties, in fact, can be due to their negative attitudes, inability, and lack of prior knowledge, of motivation, of skills and of efforts. Here, the students and their failures are at the center and it is perhaps that makes teachers to mainly blame students for the lack of success and learning difficulties.

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Some students learning difficulties, nevertheless, can very well be due to the teachers and the nature of teaching as stated by Cornu (1991). Studies on both pre-service and inservice teachers, in fact, have shown serious weaknesses in their subject matter and pedagogical content knowledge. In this connection, Goulding, Rowland, and Barber (2002), for instance, reported serious weaknesses in pre-service teachers understanding of mathematical concepts. Linchevsky and Vinner (1988) reported elementary teachers difficulties with the mathematical concepts of sets. Ozmantar and Bingolbali (2009) showed that 22% of 216 primary classroom teachers found the computation
75 7 5 1 1 3 1420 14 20 2 4 4

as correct and again 22% of them found the following as incorrect.


75 7 5 7 5 6 1420 1420 1420 34 34 17

In another study, Bingolbali, Ozmantar, and Akko (2008) showed that 44% of a group of primary teachers allocated a full grade to a wrong answer on a problem related to the area of a rectangle. These studies provide evidence that teachers lack of subject matter and pedagogical content knowledge as well as their beliefs do matter (Ball et al., 2008; Verschaffel et al., 2006; Askew et al., 1997; Lamb & Booker, 2004) as far as students learning difficulties are concerned. Although the participant pre-service and in-service teachers in our study tend to mainly attribute students learning difficulties to student-related causes, as the abovementioned studies clearly suggest, teachers own difficulties, beliefs, instructional approaches and teaching materials can all contribute to the emergence of students mathematical difficulties. Our study makes it clear that, at least in the case of our sample both in-service and pre-service teachers tend to hold students responsible for the mathematical difficulties but do not pay much attention to the pedagogical causes in accounting for such difficulties. Although both pre-service and in-service teachers do not pay much attention to epistemological causes, which may sometimes hinder students learning, these causes alone or sometimes together with pedagogical and psychological ones can be the sources for the occurrence of students learning difficulties. However, our participants seem to ignore (or even perhaps unaware of) this fact in accounting for the reasons of student mathematical difficulties. As a conclusion, the issue of sources of students learning difficulties is a complex and multidimensional one. Students learning difficulties can be due to many causes and attribution of students difficulties to only one source is deficient. Teachers awareness in this respect is, therefore, crucial and needs close and further attention. Educational Implications, Further Research and Conclusions The findings show that both pre-service and in-service teachers attribute students difficulties to mainly student-related causes. We below interpret these findings and

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E. Bingolbali, H. Akko, M. F. Ozmantar, & S. Demir

theoretical framework used to make sense of the findings as raising two important but closely related issues and some further research areas. The first issue is related to sources of students learning difficulties and their causes. The findings of this study clearly show that our participant pre-service and in-service teachers tend to focus mostly on psychological causes in explaining students mathematical difficulties. Findings also suggest that our participants seem to be largely unaware of or at least to ignore pedagogical and epistemological causes in giving rise to student difficulties. On the basis of these findings, we suggest that pre-service preparation programs and professional development programs designed for in-service teachers should equally emphasize the epistemological and pedagogical causes and potential sources of student mathematical difficulties. Considering that teachers understanding of what makes the learning of specific topics easy or difficult (Shulman, 1986, p.9) is interpreted as constituting a component of their PCK, discussion with teachers in this respect can contribute to the development of their PCK as well. Focusing only on psychological causes, therefore, is insufficient and the attention should especially be drawn to epistemological obstacles that the concepts pose and pedagogical causes of students difficulties as well. The second issue is related to the use of the theoretical framework of the study. The notions of epistemological, pedagogical and psychological obstacles seem to have been used in a very narrow manner and actually mainly in terms of the role of epistemological obstacles in the learning of the students (Selden & Selden, 2001; Dorier & Sierpinska, 2001). We have used this framework in a different way in this study for teacher education. We have found this framework useful to examine the views of the teachers regarding sources of students learning difficulties. This framework, as alluded to above, can be useful for both teachers and teacher educators to analytically examine sources of students learning difficulties and also to enable teachers to have an awareness regarding why students have difficulties to learn mathematics. Our findings point to the issues that warrant further considerations. Further research is clearly needed to find out, for instance, whether there is any difference between practices of those teachers who refer to psychological causes more and those who refer to epistemological and pedagogical causes more. Another further research area can be related to the use of our framework adopted in this paper to examine views of teachers of different subject areas regarding sources of students learning difficulties. This strand of research will help us to understand the extent to which the epistemology of subject areas influences teachers views regarding sources of students learning difficulties. On the other hand, although this study has shed some light on the views of teachers about sources of students learning difficulties with mathematics, it has still left many questions unanswered. The results have shown that there were some differences between the attributions of pre-service and in-service teachers regarding sources of students learning difficulties. For instance, elementary mathematics teachers referred to psychological causes more than elementary and pre-service teachers. Again elementary mathematics teachers referred to prior knowledge or its deficiency more than elementary teachers. More of similar differences between the groups of the teacher can be found in the results sections. We do not have concrete data to explain these differences between these groups of teachers.

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Further research is, therefore, clearly needed to examine why there was a difference between the views of these teachers as well. Acknowledgements 1. The research reported in this paper was supported by grants from The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TBTAK) (Grants 107K531 and 108K330). 2. The data used in this paper was earlier presented in the 9th National Conferences of Science and Mathematics Education in Turkey. References Akbulut, K. & Ik, A. (2005). Limit kavramnn anlalmasnda etkileimli retim stratejisinin etkinliinin incelenmesi ve bu srete karlalan kavram yanlglar [The effect of interactive teaching strategies on the comprehension of the limit concept and the misconceptions met during this process]. Kastamonu Eitim Fakltesi Dergisi [Kastamonu Journal of School of Education] , 13(2), 497-512. Akko, H., Bingolbali, E., & Ozmantar, F. (2008). Investigating the technological pedagogical content knowledge: A case of derivative at a point. In O. Figueras, & A. Seplveda (Eds.), Proceedings of the Joint Meeting of the 32nd Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, and the XXX North American Chapter (Vol. 2, pp.17-24). Morelia: PME. An, S., Kulm, G., & Wu, Z. (2004). The pedagogical content knowledge of middle-school, mathematics teachers in China and the U.S. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education 7, 145172. Askew, M., Brown, M., Rhodes, V., William, D., & Johnson, D. (1997). Effective teachers of numeracy in UK primary schools: Teachers beliefs, practices, and pupils learning. In E. Pehkonen (Ed.), Proceedings of the 21st International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education Conference (Vol. 2, pp. 31-42). Lahti: PME Ausubel, D. P. (1968). Educational psychology: A cognitive view. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. Bachelard, G. (2002). The formation of the scientific mind: A contribution to a psykoanalysis of objective knowledge. Manchester: Clinamen Press. (Original work published in French in 1938) Ball, D. L., Thames, M. H., & Phelps, G. (2008). Content knowledge for teaching : What makes it special? Journal of Teacher Education, 59, 389-407. Bingolbali, E., Ozmantar, F. M., & Akko, H. (2008). Curriculum reform in primary mathematics education: Teacher difficulties and dilemmas. In O. Figueras & A. Seplveda (Eds.), Proceedings of the Joint Meeting of the 32nd Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, and the XXX North American Chapter (Vol. 2, pp. 169-176). Morelia: PME.

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Tall, D. O. (Ed.) (1991). Advanced mathematical thinking. Kluwer, Boston. Tall, D. O., & Vinner, S. (1981). Concept image and concept definition in mathematics, with particular reference to limits and continuity. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 12, 151169. doi: 10.1007/BF00305619 Tanner, H. (2000). Becoming a successful teacher of mathematics. London, UK: Routledge Falmer. Tirosh, D., Even, R., & Robinson, N. (1998). Simplifying algebraic expressions: Teacher awareness and teaching approaches. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 35, 5164. doi: 10.1023/A:1003011913153 Verschaffel, L., Greer, B., & Torbeyns, J. (2006). Numerical thinking. In A. Gutierrez, & P. Boero (Eds.), Handbook of Research on the Psychology of Mathematics Education: Past, Present and Future (pp. 51-82). Rotterdam/Taipei: Sense Publishers. Williams, S. (1991). Models of limit held by college calculus students. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 22(3), 219-236. doi:10.2307/749075 Authors Erhan Binglbali, Assistant Mathematics Education, bingolbali@gantep.edu.tr Professor, University School of Education, Department of of Gaziantep, Gaziantep, Turkey;

Hatice Akko, Assistant Professor, Atatrk School of Education, Department of Mathematics Education, Istanbul, Turkey; haticeakkoc@yahoo.com Mehmet Fatih zmantar, Assistant Professor, School of Education, Department of Mathematics Education, University of Gaziantep, Gaziantep, Turkey; ozmantar@gantep.edu.tr Servet Demir, Assistant Professor, School of Education, Department of Instructional Technology, University of Gaziantep, Gaziantep, Turkey; sdemir@gantep.edu.tr

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We would like to thank the following mathematics educators in addition to the international editorial board members who reviewed articles submitted to IEJME that were considered for publication in 2010. Ali Eraslan Ayhan Krat Erba Constance Kamii Emin Aydn Erhan Bilglbali Hanan Innabi Hatice Akko Hollylynne Stohl Lee Ildar S. Safuanov James Tarr Jennifer Way Juan D. Godino Kaye Stacey Khoon Yoong Wong Kwok-Cheung Cheung Lynda R. Wiest Mara Alagic Mehmet F. Ozmantar Mustafa akr Noraini Idris Nurit Zehavi Oleksiy Yevdokimov Othman N. Alsawaie Peter Gates Randall Groth Sharifah N.A.S. Zamri Taylor Martin Tolga Kabaca

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