A review of literature on mathematics teacher learning reveals that knowledge about how teachers learn in and from practice is limited, as is knowledge of how they adapt content from their teacher education. Thus, we have an insufficient basis for research-informed selection and sequencing of content in mathematics teacher education, for later interventions with teachers, and for support to retain and develop teachers in the profession.

Project design

Following student teachers from their last year in teacher education to their third year in the profession, we obtain insights into how novice teachers learn in their professional practice. The study focuses on several perspectives:

(a) didactical content taught in current mathematics teacher education programs,

(b) student teachers’ take-up of didactical content;

(c) how novice teachers change their practices in schools, including how they adapt and transform what they learned in teacher education;

(d) which conditions/constraints impact how they adapt and transform didactical content from teacher education; and

(e) how the novice teachers take part in their school communities, over time.

In Sweden, the project is a collaboration between Malmö University and Stockholm University. It has a sister project in South Africa, and we are aiming to develop an additional sister project in Rwanda.

Data in the project

The empirical component of the study is longitudinal, spanning four years. The first year, we collect data from student teachers. Novice teachers are observed and interviewed yearly for the remaining three years.

During the last year of their teacher education, we observe student teachers teaching in the practicum, interview them about the observed lessons, interview them about their learning from teacher education, and if possible record mentoring conversations and the so-called three-party-conversations.

We follow the same people three years into their career, with repeated observations and interviews. If possible, we supplement with recordings of meetings amongst teacher groups.

Analytical perspectives

Theoretically, the project applies the theories and frameworks of commognition, mathematical discourse in instruction, and the anthropological theory of the didactic.

What we hope to contribute

Through the longitudinal and intercultural approach, it will be possible to interrogate the challenges which newly graduated mathematics teachers face in different contexts. The project can in this way focus on the quality of mathematics teacher education in the participating countries. It will be possible to identify and understand possibilities in the teacher education practices. With vignettes about teacher education this project can extend into contributing to how content and structure of teacher education is selected, created and organised.