TELPS: A Method for Analysing Mathematics Pre-service Teachers’ Pedagogical Content Knowledge

Oct. 01, 2013

Source: Teaching and Teacher Education, Volume 35 (October, 2013) p. 43-50
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

In this article, the authors are interested to measure the preservice teachers' Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) and their personal constructs of teaching about mathematics lesson plans during their teacher education program.

The authors developed a Teacher Education Lesson Plan Survey (TELPS) to analyse pre-service mathematics teachers’ PCK.
The authors asked students to complete TELPS at the beginning (initial) and at the end (final) of their teacher education program.
In Germany, 122 first semester and 51 final semester pre-service teachers participated in TELPS. In Australia, TELPS had 53 first and 30 final semester pre-service teachers as participants.


The results of the content analysis show that the constructs of the pre-service teachers have a wide variation and could be summarized within different themes.
TELPS could also indicate whether there is a difference between first semester pre-service teacher students’ PCK and final semester pre-service teachers’ PCK.
The comparison of the two universities shows that TELPS has the ability to detect differences in pre-service teachers’ PCK.

The findings show that the final semester pre-service teachers in both countries found more constructs to explain the differences and similarities of the analysed lesson plans than the first semester preservice teachers do.
For example, final semester students at the German university covered an averaged of seven themes with their constructs, whereas first semester students at this university covered an average of 5.6 themes of a mathematics lesson plan while naming their constructs.
At the beginning of their teacher education program the pre-service teachers focussed on the themes ‘Structure of the lesson’, ‘Motivation’ and ‘Cognitive Activation’, whereas final semester preservice teachers did not show a special focus and named all themes more often.
By the end of the program the German university pre-service teachers had completed their lectures in teaching mathematics and learned more about how teaching mathematics so they had a more general understanding of lesson planning.
There appears to be a growth in the development of PCK during the teacher education program because the mean number of themes found by the pre-service teachers in their last semester is higher than mean number of themes in their first semester.
Also the focus of analysing lesson plans appears to change while becoming a teacher.


In this article, the authors present a new survey to gather pre-service teachers’ PCK.
They determined a variety of constructs concerning designing a ‘good’ mathematics lesson and they also indicated that these constructs are linked with pre-service teachers’ PCK of planning and designing a mathematics lesson.
Lesson plans solve that problem because they sum up the content and activities of a whole lesson in a clear and concise way e all the different ways students are motivated, specific mathematical terms are introduced, tasks are undertaken, students’ understanding of the mathematics is assessed, and so on.
The authors conclude that the development of PCK is an important element of any teacher education program, and TELPS appears to be useful in determining pre-service teachers’ PCK.

Updated: Nov. 09, 2015