for the learning of mathematics

an international journal of mathematics education

Jo Towers ,  Lyndon Martin - Vol. 29 Num. 3 (2009)
 The Emergence of a ‘Better' Idea: Preservice Teachers' Growing Understanding of Mathematics for Teaching


In this paper we explore the growth of understanding of a group of preservice teachers, and their instructor, as they work collectively together on what we describe as a ‘mathematics for teaching' task. Through drawing on elements of improvisational theory, in particular the notion of the ‘better idea,' we analyse how the preservice teachers' understanding of a particular mathematical concept as a teachable idea emerges as they work together. We build on this analysis to suggest that certain kinds of improvisational actions can be a powerful means through which student teachers might think about and learn mathematics for teaching.