Links between content knowledge and practice in a mathematics teacher education course.
The link between content knowledge and how this influences classroom practice has been prominent in educational research in recent years. Shulman was the forerunner of research on this topic and his research dates back to 1986. Shulman’s views on content knowledge were contrary to the views of his time. In South Africa, however, the Presidential Education Initiative Report which was published in 1999 initiated research on content knowledge and brought this topic into the forefront of educational research. This study examined the link between content knowledge and practice from the perceptions of two university lecturers. The study was contextualized at a tertiary institution in South Africa where the two university lecturers were lecturing to a second year undergraduate teacher trainee class. The topic under discussion was calculus-rates of change. The research was located in the interpretivist paradigm since it focuses on the individual and tries to understand the phenomenon that is being investigated from the individual’s perspective. The research was also conceptualised in terms of Vygotsky’s educational theory and the process of scaffolding. A qualitative case study research methodology was employed. The data was gathered through semi-structured interviews with the two university lecturers and through the observation of video-recorded lessons that the lecturers conducted. The study revealed that the two university lecturers saw a link between a teachers’ content knowledge and his classroom practice. This study is by no means exhaustive, and is a case study of two university lecturers and their perception of the link between content knowledge and practice. This topic can be explored further, and suggestions for further research have been made.