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Enhancement of research excellence in Mathematics Teacher Knowledge

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MaTeK (Enhancement of research excellence in Mathematics Teacher Knowledge)

Reporting period: 2021-01-01 to 2022-03-31

Results of international measurements, such as PISA, show that the score of Slovak students in mathematics is long termly below the OECD average. This result might evoke a discussion about the quality of the education system and the consequences of the low long-term investment in education and long-term extremely poor remuneration of teachers and trainers leads (European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training, 2014). Therefore, the overall aim of the MaTeK project is: "Establishment of extensive networks for excellence through the partnership with CUP, UP, NTNU and METU resulting in the strengthening of research performance by transfer of knowledge, expertise and by an exchange of best practices in the field of Mathematics Teacher Knowledge." To this aim, all the activities and research in mathematics education are directed.

The general goal of the MaTeK project is to strengthen the research performance and develop the excellence of the Department of Mathematics Education (DME) at the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Informatics of Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia (UK BA), in the field of mathematics teacher knowledge enhancement. Teacher knowledge is the prerequisite of the education enterprise, and student knowledge development is its objective. For researchers, it is essential to understand what kinds of knowledge mathematics teachers develop and how they use their teaching expertise to help students acquire deep knowledge in mathematics. One of the ways how to address this issue is to work with pre-service mathematics teachers on lesson and learning progression design capacity.

The specific goal of MaTeK is to provide the DME with opportunities to work with and learn from partners and exchange best practices in the field of mathematics lesson and learning progression design, with a focus on the topic of reasoning and proof (R&P). R&P is an essential strand of mathematical proficiency and research has shown that pre-service teachers are often not adequately prepared to cultivate opportunities for students to engage with reasoning and proof.
The general goal of MaTeK will be achieved through a series of twinning schemes, including workshops, seminars, summer schools, staff exchanges, and conference attendance, that will all be closely related to a well-defined common research study with the following research question: How can pre-service teachers’ design capacity in terms of reasoning and proof be enhanced?
The project has started in January 2021 and, within its duration (until December 2023), will follow a Design Research approach (McKenney & Reeves 2019), with the following three research phases:
1) Exploratory study (context and needs analysis);
2) Lesson and Learning Progression design & Intervention; and
3) Enactment & re-design.
Our main target group in phases 2 and 3 is pre-service mathematics teachers for grades 5-10 at each MaTeK institution. Their understanding of the mathematical learning progressions and lesson plans design involves important aspects of pedagogical content knowledge (Carlson & Daehler, 2019)
To follow the plan and to answer the stated research question, 2 research working groups were established:
WG1 (intervention group), leader: Iveta Kohanova, NTNU, Norway. Focus is on the preparation of the intervention on pre-service mathematics teachers, lesson and learning progression design & intervention, enactment and re-design
WG2 (textbook analysis group) leader: Jarmila Novotna, CU, Czech Republic. Focus id on context and needs analysis. Within this group, a subgroup focusing on developing a new framework was established. This framework is almost ready and will be published in 2022.
As a subquestion concerning teacher preparation, a third research working group was established: WG3 (survey group), leader: Erdinc Cakiroglu, which focuses on using the resources of in-service teachers.
The potential impact is on pre-service mathematics teachers and in-service teachers in preparing their lessons with higher stress on reasoning and proof, which can lead their students to better understanding. Critical assessment of reasoning and argumentation can equip the students to make their own decisions and take a stand on important questions in their own lives and in society.
Congress in Usti nad Labem - communication of the first results (paper is accepted)
Conference in Prague - dissemination of preliminary results
Information poster about the MaTeK project and planned common research