Learning mathematics for teaching mathematics: non-specialist teachers’ mathematics teacher identity

Cosette Crisan, Melissa Rodd


A non-specialist teacher of mathematics is a school teacher who qualified to teach in a subject other than mathematics yet teaches mathematics to students in secondary school. There is an emerging interest internationally in this population, a brief report of which is given in the paper. Because of concerns about the quality of non-specialists’ mathematics teaching, in-service courses for these teachers have been provided by some educational jurisdictions, including within the United Kingdom (UK). This paper reports on a research project based on designing and teaching such courses in London. The paper operationalises ‘Mathematics Teacher Identity’ by adapting Wenger’s (1998) social ecology of identity to give a framework of ‘Modes of Belonging’ for a teacher of mathematics, which is then used to analyse qualitative data of different types. Analysis of the data identifies (1) aspects of non-specialists’ mathematics teacher identity in terms of indicators and (2) through two case studies, ‘trajectories’ towards development of a mathematics teacher identity.


non-specialist teacher of mathematics . mathematics teacher identity . in-service course . communities of practice . teaching across specialisations . ‘out-of-field’ teaching

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