The tasks with which students engage in their mathematics courses determine, for a large part, what students learn. Therefore, it is essential that teachers are able to design tasks that are worthwhile for developing mathematical understanding. Since practicing teachers seldom incorporate worthwhile mathematical tasks in their lessons, we would expect that they did not become proficient at designing worthwhile tasks while in their teacher education programs. This thesis describes a study that investigated what preservice secondary teachers attend to as they attempt to design worthwhile mathematical tasks. Three participants were selected from a course at a large private university where preservice teachers are taught and practice the skill of task design. This "Task Design" course was observed, and the three participants were interviewed to determine what they attend to while designing tasks. There were seven main characteristics that the main participants in the study attended to the most often and thought were the most important: sound and significant mathematics, reasoning, appropriateness, clarity, communication, engagement, and openness. How the participants attended to these characteristics is described. Some implications for teacher education, such as requiring preservice teachers to explain how their tasks embody certain characteristics, are given based on the results.
College and Department
Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Mathematics Education
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Zwahlen, Elizabeth Karen, "An Investigation of How Preservice Teachers Design Mathematical Tasks" (2014). Theses and Dissertations. 3959.
worthwhile mathematical tasks, preservice mathematics teachers, task characteristics