Indicator P.1.1. Engage All Partners Productively
An effective teacher preparation program benefits from an interdisciplinary collaborative partnership that is a shared endeavor focused on the preparation of mathematics teachers who are well prepared to improve Pre-K–12 student learning in mathematics from multiple perspectives.
These types of partnerships inform different facets of mathematics teacher preparation based on the wisdom of practice and solid theoretical and research-based knowledge and do so in concert with practitioners to prepare effective mathematics teachers for work in diverse schools.
Mathematics teacher educators (MTEs) provide leadership to ensure that the partners recognize the complex nature of mathematics teaching and learning and respect the contributions needed from each partner. MTEs play a central role in ensuring that the program supports the preparation of well-prepared beginners. The partnership is enhanced by the contributions of research scholars who ensure that the program is designed using the best available knowledge.
The partnership includes active participation by faculty who teach mathematics and statistics courses. According to The Mathematical Education of Teachers II (MET II, CBMS, 2012),“Teacher education should be recognized as an important part of a mathematics department’s mission and should be undertaken in collaboration with mathematics education faculty” (p. 19). In addition, “Prospective teachers need mathematics courses that develop a solid understanding of mathematics they will teach;” further, mathematics departments should offer a minimum of “three courses with a primary focus on high school mathematics from an advanced viewpoint” (p. 62). When these criteria are met, an institution’s mathematics teacher educators are positioned to partner with mathematics and statistics faculty to ensure that both mathematics courses and mathematics education courses are designed to educate well-prepared beginning teachers. Some students in undergraduate teacher preparation programs begin their higher education at a community college, where they may be taking required mathematics courses for the program. Thus, it is important that partnerships also be formed with mathematics and statistics faculty at community colleges, to ensure that the content courses they offer meet the needs of prospective teachers of mathematics.
An effective partnership requires collaboration with faculty in social foundations, special education, educational psychology, educational leadership, and learning technologies as well as faculty in other disciplines who teach courses in teacher preparation, such as statistics educators and engineering educators.
The engagement of Pre-K–12 school-based personnel is essential to the partnership. Through shared responsibility, mathematics teacher preparation programs can integrate coursework, theory, and pedagogy. The partnership must ensure that future teachers have high-quality school-based experiences that are needed to educate well-prepared beginners and support the development of candidates’ skills as related to the needs of schools and school districts. Similarly, close cooperation with preparation programs helps districts hire teachers who are prepared to be effective in their schools. Building these partnerships not only supports candidates’ learning but also deepens classroom teachers’ knowledge of mathematics content and pedagogy to support their students’ learning.
Families and community leaders are important but often overlooked participants in teacher preparation partnerships. When mathematics teacher educators collaborate with families and leaders in the community, they can design learning experiences that help prepare teachers to better understand family and community cultural perspectives, the various activities and responsibilities students have in their homes and communities, the kinds of mathematics that are performed by community members in their jobs, and the values that are highly regarded. In this way, mathematics teacher educators can help the beginning teacher to reflect on and build lessons and classroom cultures that support students to be themselves and be experts in ways that others in the classroom (including the teacher) may not be.
Members of an effective partnership collaborate with families and community leaders to create activities that are immediately and mutually beneficial for the beginning teacher and students. Such activities could include students' learning mathematics with and from beginning teachers and others in community spaces (e.g., public libraries, Boys & Girls clubs, community centers, or places of worship).
Partnering with business and industry representatives helps candidates see the uses of mathematics, technology, and statistics in real-world contexts and ways these partners can assist in supporting students and teachers in learning more about these uses.