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Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics: Teachers' Understanding of Fundamental Mathematics in China and the United States



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This is the 2nd edition with a publication date of 1/25/2010.

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Customer Reviews

An important read for all elementary teachers  May 23, 2011

This textbook will inspire you to re-evaluate your own knowledge of elementary math, and to work from a procedural understanding of math to conceptual. It gives a very persuasive argument that good mathematics teaching must start with a total command of the relevant mathematics. Read and share this textbook with anyone who cares about the education of elementary school children.

Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics: Teachers' Understanding of Fundamental Mathematics in China and the United States: 5 out of 5 stars based on 1 user reviews.


Studies of teachers in the U.S. often document insufficient subject matter knowledge in mathematics. Yet, these studies give few examples of the knowledge teachers need to support teaching, particularly the kind of teaching demanded by recent reforms in mathematics education. Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics describes the nature and development of the knowledge that elementary teachers need to become accomplished mathematics teachers, and suggests why such knowledge seems more common in China than in the United States, despite the fact that Chinese teachers have less formal education than their U.S. counterparts.

The anniversary edition of this bestselling volume includes the original studies that compare U.S and Chinese elementary school teachersí mathematical understanding and offers a powerful framework for grasping the mathematical content necessary to understand and develop the thinking of school children. Highlighting notable changes in the field and the authorís work, this new edition includes an updated preface, introduction, and key journal articles that frame and contextualize this seminal work.

"For all who are concerned with mathematics education in the U.S., Liping Ma has written an important book. It provides valuable clues to the nature of the problem of improving our K-12 mathematics education. An added bonus is that, despite the somewhat foreboding educationese of its title, it is quite readable. I recommend this book."-Roger Howe, Yale University

"Must reading for those who call for more mathematics and those who champion reform pedagogy in teacher education."-Anna O. Graeber, University of Maryland-College Park

"...both a graceful introduction (for mathematicians and other neophytes) to an important area of mathematics education and an interesting theoretical work in its own right. I recommend it highly."-Judith Roitman, University of Kansas

Author Biography

Liping Ma earned a Ph.D. from Stanford University, following a masters degree in education from East China Normal University. After a term as a senior scientist at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, she is now an independent scholar.

Table of Contents

Author's Preface to the Anniversary Editionp. xi
Series Editor's Introduction to the Anniversary Editionp. xvi
A Note about the Anniversary Editionp. xviii
Forewordp. xix
Acknowledgmentsp. xxiii
Introductionp. xxvi
Subtraction With Regrouping: Approaches To Teaching A Topicp. 1
The U. S. Teachers' Approach: Borrowing Versus Regroupingp. 2
The Chinese Teachers' Approach: "Decomposing a Higher Value Unit"p. 7
Discussionp. 21
Summaryp. 26
Multidigit Number Multiplication: Dealing with Students' Mistakesp. 28
The U.S. Teachers' Approach: Lining Up Versus Separating Into Three Problemsp. 29
The Chinese Teachers' Approach: Elaborating the Concept of Place Valuep. 38
Discussionp. 52
Summaryp. 54
Generating Representations: Division By Fractionsp. 55
The U.S. Teachers' Performance on Calculationp. 56
The Chinese Teachers' Performance on Calculationp. 58
The U.S. Teachers' Representations of Division by Fractionsp. 64
The Chinese Teachers' Approach to the Meaning of Division by Fractionsp. 72
Discussionp. 80
Summaryp. 82
Exploring New Knowledge: The Relationship Between Perimeter And Areap. 84
How the U. S. Teachers Explored the New Ideap. 85
How the Chinese Teachers Explored the New Ideap. 90
Discussionp. 103
Summaryp. 106
Teachers' Subject Matter Knowledge: Profound Understanding of Fundamental Mathematicsp. 107
A Cross-Topic Picture of the Chinese Teachers' Knowledge: What Is Its Mathematical Substance?p. 108
Knowledge Packages and Their Key Pieces: Understanding Longitudinal Coherence in Learningp. 113
Elementary Mathematics as Fundamental Mathematicsp. 116
Profound Understanding of Fundamental Mathematicsp. 118
Summaryp. 123
Profound Understanding Of Fundamental Mathematics: When And How Is It Attained?p. 125
When Is Profound Understanding of Fundamental Mathematics Attained?: What the Preteaching Groups Knew About the Four Topicsp. 126
Profound Understanding of Fundamental Mathematics: How It Is Attainedp. 129
Summaryp. 142
Conclusionp. 144
Address Teacher Knowledge and Student Learning at the Same Timep. 146
Enhance the Interaction Between Teachers' Study of School Mathematics and How to Teach Itp. 147
Refocus Teacher Preparationp. 149
Understand the Role That Curricular Materials, Including Textbooks, Might Play in Reformp. 150
Understand the Key to Reform: Whatever the Form of Classroom Interactions Might Be, They Must Focus on Substantive Mathematicsp. 151
Appendixp. 154
Referencesp. 156
New to the Anniversary Edition: Fang and Paine's "Bridging Polarities: How Liping Ma's Knowing and Teaching Mathematics Entered the U. S. Mathematics and Mathematics Education Discourses"p. 161
New to the Anniversary Edition: Ma's Response to "Bridging Polarities"p. 186
Author Indexp. 189
Subject Indexp. 191
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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