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College of Education > News and Publications > News: Jan. - March 2012 > Lloyd Co-Edits Book for Mathematics Teacher Educators

Lloyd Co-Edits Book for Mathematics Teacher Educators

A new book co-edited by Gwen Lloyd supports use of Standards-based curriculum materials in math teacher education.

Curriculum-Based.jpgby Joe Savrock (January 2012)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - A new book co-edited by Gwendolyn Lloyd, Penn State professor of mathematics education, offers strategies and resources for using Standards-based curriculum materials in mathematics teacher education.

Lloyd collaborated with Vanessa Pitts-Bannister, of the University of South Florida Polytechnic, to edit Curriculum-Based Activities and Resources for Preservice Math Teachers (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 2011). The book follows on the heels of research that Lloyd and Pitts-Bannister conducted over several years. In their work, funded by the National Science Foundation, Lloyd and Pitts-Bannister examined strategies for using innovative curriculum resources to improve preservice teachers’ understandings of mathematics teaching and learning.

In response to the publication of the first set of Standards from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) in 1989, many new K-12 mathematics curriculum programs were developed. Over the past two decades, these curriculum programs have been widely implemented, studied, and revised. Standards-based curriculum materials, as they came to be known, contain mathematical content and instructional approaches that are unfamiliar and challenging to many teachers. Due to their unique design, these curriculum materials create new opportunities for teacher educators to explore a wide range of teaching and learning issues and questions with preservice teachers.

“Whereas mathematics textbooks are typically viewed as learning tools for children, they can also provide critical learning opportunities for teachers—including preservice teachers,” states Lloyd. “The book represents a collaboration among teacher educators who share the view that mathematics textbooks and curriculum materials hold potential for the learning of future elementary and secondary teachers.”

Gwendolyn LloydLloyd and Pitts-Bannister invited mathematics teacher educators from different universities to provide accounts of their use of Standards-based curriculum materials with future mathematics teachers. In a series of six chapters, these teacher educators share ways of using Standards-based curriculum materials to develop preservice teachers’ understandings of NCTM’s six principles for school mathematics—equity, curriculum, teaching, learning, assessment, and technology. A chapter about assessment is authored by Lloyd, and a chapter about learning is authored by another Penn State faculty member, Fran Arbaugh.

“Our book shares carefully designed activities that draw on the representations of mathematics and pedagogy in the curriculum materials to support teachers’ learning,” says Lloyd. Activities include, for example, analyzing lessons or problems from the materials via a particular framework, comparing aspects of Standards-based curriculum materials and commercially developed textbooks, and designing lessons for peer teaching based on selections from Standards-based materials. Chapters also include teacher educators’ accounts of the learning of preservice teachers who engaged in the activities.

“One strength of this book as a resource for teacher educators is that it contains a diversity of approaches,” notes Lloyd, who also serves as director of Penn State’s Childhood and Early Adolescent Education program. “The book shares strategies that have been used on various university campuses, in different kinds of courses—including both mathematics and methods courses—and with preservice teachers from elementary and secondary teacher education programs.”

As noted in the book, many of the activities can be adapted for use with more experienced teachers in professional development settings.

The book also contains a chapter, co-authored by Penn State faculty member Andrea McCloskey, that offers insights into the role of curriculum materials in preservice teachers’ field experiences. This chapter extends the book’s consideration of mathematics teacher education from university coursework into the mathematics classroom.

Although increasing numbers of teacher educators are using Standards-based curriculum materials to support preservice teachers’ learning, Lloyd and Pitts-Bannister’s book is the first compilation of specific strategies, activities, and examples. “Our aim in putting together the book was to help teachers and teacher educators capitalize on the potential for learning that can occur through purposeful engagement with mathematics textbooks and curriculum materials,” explains Lloyd. “We really hope to increase opportunities for teachers to engage with and recognize curricular resources as tools for their own learning, as well as children’s learning, early in their careers.”