Towards quality teacher education : productive pedagogies as a framework for Saudi pre-service teachers’ training in Mathematics education
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Reforming pedagogy in mathematics education has been the focus of numerous educational reforms around the world. Productive Pedagogies is a framework for reflection on teaching that aims at improving students’ intellectual reasoning, making school teaching and learning more connected to students’ everyday lives, and addresses the concerns of equity support. There has been no research on this novel teaching framework in the Saudi Arabian context.The focus of this study was the incorporation of the Productive Pedagogies framework in teacher education. In particular, this study aimed to investigate the incorporation of the Productive Pedagogies framework within a teachers’ pre-service unit in mathematics education in Saudi Arabia. In addition, it aimed to investigate the pre-service teachers’ ability to implement the framework in their field experiences. Socio-cultural factors related to the incorporation of Productive Pedagogies in a Saudi Arabian context were also examined.This research is a qualitative study informed by practical action research methodology and aims to introduce the Productive Pedagogies framework to a group of final year pre-service teachers at a teacher education college in Saudi Arabia. This study took place during the last two semesters of the course and was conceptualised to consist of two phases. In phase I, eighteen pre-service teachers were introduced to the Productive Pedagogies framework in the unit of Mathematics Teaching Methods. In other words, the framework constituted part of the content of the unit and was used as an overall organizer to integrate the other content usually covered in the subject. At the same time, the framework was used by the researcher in his teaching of the subject, thus modeling the principles of the framework in the classroom. In phase II, six pre-service teachers were followed into their field experience at two participating primary schools. Each pre-service teacher was observed five times during their field experience to ascertain his level of understanding and use of the framework. This study gathered data from focus groups, interviews, observations and reflective journals.The study revealed that, overwhelmingly, pre-service teachers found the framework very useful, helping them to integrate their new knowledge developed in the unit, Mathematics Teaching Methods, into their practice; they also attempted to use it in planning, conducting and reflecting on their teaching practice during their field experience. In particular, the pre-service teachers demonstrated a shift towards student-centred teaching. In addition, the findings indicated that while the pre-service teachers faced challenges in using Productive Pedagogies in their practice and some of the main dimensions were not implemented a great deal, there was clear evidence of an increase in the implementation of each dimension by pre-service teachers over the duration of the observation period. Reflecting on some of the problems that were observed, this study makes some recommendations for teacher training programs in general.
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