PRE-SERVICE TEACHERS’ PEDAGOGICAL CONTENT KNOWLEDGE ON HYPOTHESES TESTING: THE GHANAIAN EXPERIENCE
University of Education, Winneba (GHANA)
This paper examines pre-service teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge on hypotheses testing in a Ghanaian university, after these teachers had been taught hypotheses testing and a statistics lecturer had demonstrated to them during a series of pre-internship seminars the different teaching methods and skills they should possess. The study which included 160 second year bachelor of education mathematics pre-service teachers, utilized a descriptive case study approach to examine a real-life context within which the pre-service teachers tackled the question of this study. Data for this study were gathered through answers to the question that was posed in class and from class observations. The results of this study indicate that all but a few of the pre-service teachers presumed to possess a very strong pedagogical content knowledge. However, their responses to the given question and their participation during class observation were at variance with the perceptions that they initially held. The implication of this study is that, effective pedagogical content knowledge is a necessary requirement for pre-service teachers to improve upon their mathematics teaching at all educational levels. As a results, teachers who have in-depth pedagogical knowledge about the subject matter have clear ideas on how to build procedural proficiency that enables them to extend student ideas and to challenge student thinking. Nonetheless, teachers with limited pedagogical content knowledge on the subject matter tend to structure teaching and learning around discrete concepts instead of creating wider connections between facts, concepts, structures, and practices. The study finally concludes that, to stimulate an effective pedagogical content knowledge among pre-service teachers, lecturers in teacher preparatory programs must possess a thorough understanding of the learning process and the factors which affect these processes.