CONTRIBUTION OF MATHEMATICS IN-SERVICE TRAINING COURSES TO THE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHERS IN ISRAEL
The present study aimed to explore the contribution of mathematics in-service training course to elementary school teachers (1st – 6th grades) in Israel. The study was conducted among 449 educators. They were asked to respond to a background questionnaire. Moreover, they were asked to indicate their expectations from the in-service training course and, at its end, point out to what extent they benefitted from that course. The research findings illustrate that educators who teach mathematics at elementary school and attended the course are generally women in their 40s, holding a B.Ed. degree and a teaching certificate not in mathematics, with an average of 13 years of teaching experience. The participating teachers indicated their wish to enrich their didactic knowledge in order to acquire varied tools for teaching mathematics to the entire pupil population as well as to gifted pupils and pupils with learning difficulties. Nevertheless, their demand to expand their mathematics knowledge was very limited. Based on the fact that most teachers have no mathematics education, this is a surprising finding as, in order to be a good teacher, one must be versed not only in the Pedagogical Content Knowledge but also in the Subject Matter Knowledge.