Source: Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, (2009) 12:67–82.
This paper derives from a case study of 10 secondary school teaching assistants (TAs) who did not have conventional pre-qualifications in mathematics. However, they undertook an honors degree in mathematics education studies at a Higher Education Institution in England whilst continuing to work as TAs in school. Work-based learning was thus undertaken in parallel with advancement through the hierarchical undergraduate mathematics curriculum. Lave and Wenger’s work on communities of practice is used as a framework to explore the TAs’ learning of mathematics alongside their professional work in schools. This case illustrates how and where institution-based undergraduate teaching relates to work in school, and where it does not, thus signaling the importance of the TAs’ informal learning strategies in bringing together these experiences.