Mathematics is the discipline through which we make sense of the order, patterns, and quantitative situations we perceive in the world around us. The foundational skills of this discipline—the abilities to formulate, focus, and solve problems; to articulate, test, and justify conjectures; to communicate one’s reasoning about quantities and the relationships between them; and to see connections between different mathematical ideas and real-world contexts—are highly valued in society and are characteristics of any educated person. Mathematics is not only a body of knowledge but also a process of analysis, reasoning, comparison, deduction, generalization, and problem solving. Mathematics educators depend heavily upon their own understanding of mathematics in order to identify and articulate the mathematical ideas they want students to learn, to assess which concepts their students already possess that might serve as a foundation for learning, and to develop activities that help students develop rich understandings. They also use their understanding of the nature of the discipline to structure a culture of inquiry, reasoning, and problem solving in their classrooms.
Courses in the undergraduate program are designed to help prospective teachers plan, manage, and implement classroom activities that facilitate students’ learning of mathematics. Specific program goals include (1) mastery of the foundational skills of mathematics, (2) deep reflection on mathematics learning at all levels, through observation of and participation in high-quality classroom practice, (3) increased autonomy and confidence as an investigator, active learner, and productive thinker, and (4) extended field experience, informed by the best current understanding.
Program faculty include educational and mathematical researchers, specialists in both preservice and inservice teacher education, and school practitioners, spanning a broad range of interest and experience.