Designing Approximations of Practice and Conceptualizing Responsive and Practice-Focused Secondary Mathematics Teacher Education


  • Matthew P. Campbell West Virginia University
  • Rebekah Elliott Oregon State University


secondary mathematics teacher education, practice-focused teacher education, approximations of practice, teacher education design, design-based research


Emphasis on opportunities for teacher candidates to investigate and enact the work of teaching in settings of reduced complexity—what are called “approximations of practice”—offers a promising path toward preparing more ambitious and equitable mathematics teachers. However, these approaches also face the risk of not preparing individuals for the socially- and culturally-defined work of teaching they are called to do in schools. In this paper, we discuss findings from ongoing design-based research in secondary mathematics teacher education around considerations for approximations of practice that are more “responsive” to school settings. We discuss analyses of methods courses and concurrent student teaching placements. Two main design considerations have emerged around the way in which approximations of practice are tied to the content and goals of school classrooms and in terms of how they account for the complexity of teaching practice. From these findings, we propose future design and research opportunities.

Author Biographies

Matthew P. Campbell, West Virginia University

Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education

Department of Curriculum & Instruction/Literacy Studies

College of Education & Human Services

Rebekah Elliott, Oregon State University

Associate Professor of Mathematics Education

College of Education


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