Teachers’ Conceptions of Representation in Middle School Mathematics

Aug. 15, 2010

Source: Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, Volume 13, Number 4, 325-343. (August, 2010).

The purpose of this study was to examine teachers’ conceptions of representation as a process in doing mathematics.
In addition, the study also explored teachers' perspectives on the role of representations in the teaching and learning of mathematics at the middle-school level.

Interviews with middle school mathematics teachers suggest that teachers use representations in varied ways in their own mathematical work and have developed working definitions of the term primarily as a product in problem solving.

However, teachers’ conception of representation as a process and a mathematical practice appears to be less developed, and, as a result, representations may have a peripheral role in their instruction as well.

Further, the data suggested that representation is viewed as a topic of study rather than as a general process, and as a goal for the learning of only a minority of the students—the high-performing ones.

Updated: May. 26, 2011