Scafolds for Learning: A Sociocultural Approach to Reforming Mathematics Teaching and Teacher Education


  • Merrilyn Goos


Most research interest stimulated by the mathematics education reform movement has been centred on schools, and on supporting teachers in implementing inquiry based teaching approaches in mathematics classrooms. This paper argues that similar research efforts need to be invested in pre-service teacher education if genuine and lasting reform of mathematics teaching is to be achieved. Parallels are drawn between two separate studies which applied sociocultural theories of learning to explore the nature of expert scaffolding in structuring learners' thinking. The first study, set in a senior secondary school classroom, shows how the teacher's scaffolding helped students to engage critically and independently with mathematical tasks. However, for many student teachers the supervised practicum continues to offer more traditional models of teaching. A way of resolving this dilemma is suggested by the second study, which investigated the actions of a mentor in scaffolding student teachers' post-lesson reflections. It is proposed. that such a mentor may play a useful role in the professional development of supervising teachers.

Author Biography

Merrilyn Goos