An investigation of the preparation of award-winning grades 7--12 mathematics teachers from the Shandong province of China

Date of Completion

January 2010


Education, Mathematics|Education, Teacher Training




The purpose of this study was to examine the grades 7-12 mathematics teacher preparation in the Shandong province of China. In order to achieve this purpose, the following two research questions guided this research: 1) How are grades 7-12 mathematics teachers from the Shandong province of China prepared to teach? 2) What are the characteristics of award winning grades 7-12 mathematics teachers from the Shandong province of China? ^ A qualitative research approach, involving in-depth interviews with purposive sampling of ten grades 7-12 award-winning mathematics teachers, was chosen to conduct this study. The participants are from the Shandong province and have been awarded recognition for his/her achievements in teaching grades 7-12 mathematics by the different levels: school, district, city, province, or nation; and his/her students have achieved high average scores in college entrance exams or in high school entrance exams among the classes at the same grade level. In-depth interviews with open-ended questions were utilized as the major data collecting method, and document review was used as a supplement method for data collection. ^ Data analysis revealed the following findings: first, grades 7-12 mathematics teachers from the Shandong province of China were prepared to teach through pre-service training, in-service training, and informal learning. The pre-service training can be characterized as emphasizing formal mathematics training at advanced level. The in-service training is integrated with teacher collaboration and teaching research, and has the characteristics of diversity, continuity, and orientation toward teaching practice. The in-service training also stimulates teachers to conduct self-directed learning. Second, the award-winning grades 7-12 mathematics teachers are identified by the following characteristics: they are passionate about mathematics and share their passion through teaching; they actively take part in teaching research through application of teaching research in the classroom, collaboration with peers, and systematic lesson preparation; they apply technology into teaching; and they take an active role in teaching research in order to expand their professional opportunities. ^ Based on the findings of this study, the following conclusions were reached: pre-service training and in-service training are both necessary processes for mathematics teachers to build up their knowledge base for effective teaching. Pre-service training is just a starting point for the teaching profession. In-service training, integrated with teacher collaboration and teaching research, should be a continuous activity that is a part of a teacher's everyday life. ^