chapter  8
14 Pages

Two Intertwined Bodies of Work: Conducting Research on Mathematics Teacher Development and Elaborating Theory of Mathematics Teaching/Learning

WithMartin A. Simon

In this chapter, I describe how two lines of study, one empirical and one theoretical, can exist in a creative interdependence. Philosophers of science and many practicing scientists have described a dialectical relationship between theory and empirical research (cf., Kuhn, 1962; Cobb, 1995). The common application of this idea would result in considering the relationship between research on teacher develop­ ment and theory of teacher development. However, my purpose in this chapter is to discuss the less obvious relationship between research on teacher development and theory of mathematics teaching/learning. (Note that I refer to teaching/learning to suggest an integrated theory as opposed to two separate ones.)

In an earlier article (Simon, 1997), I argued that for a research team studying mathematics teacher development, an essential part of its conceptual framework is its conception of mathematics teach­ ing/learning, and that a lack of useful, articulated conceptions of mathematics teaching is hampering research on teacher development. I summarize this argument and then go beyond it to describe how the empirical study of teacher development fuels an active program of theoretical work on teaching/learning.