Vol. 26 No. 2 (2017)

Selecting and Using Mathematics Methods Texts: Nontrivial Tasks

Shelly Sheats Harkness
University of Cincinnati
Amber Brass
University of Melbourne

Published 2017-12-31


  • mathematics methods texts,
  • literacy strategies


Mathematics methods textbooks/texts are important components of many courses for preservice teachers.  How these texts are selected and used should be explored.  Within this paper we report the findings of a survey administered electronically to 132 members of the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (AMTE) in order to answer the following research questions:  What criteria do mathematics teacher educators use when they select texts?  How do they use the texts in their methods courses?  What strategies (literacy strategies, reflection strategies, etc.) do mathematics teacher educators use in order to help preservice teacher engage with the texts?  Findings suggest that mathematics teacher educators use varied criteria to select methods texts and they use texts in a variety of ways.  Some use texts to show and tell about standards-based practices and some want to help preservice teachers use texts to shape their own visions of standards-based practices.  This suggests a view of “literacy as a lens” (Draper, 2008) for shaping preservice teachers’ visions of teaching and learning and/or helping them shape their own visions for teaching and learning.  Additionally, results indicate that mathematics teacher educators ask preservice teachers to participate in conversations about the texts they select and use in their courses.  We propose additional research related to the literacy strategies that mathematics teacher educators use in their methods courses in order to help preservice teacher engage with the texts that they select and use.