Course Identification

Mathematics module: Introduction to mathematics education

Lecturers and Teaching Assistants

Prof. Boris Koichu, Dr. Jason Cooper

Course Schedule and Location

First Semester
Tuesday, 16:00 - 18:00, Musher, Meeting Rm

Field of Study, Course Type and Credit Points

Science Teaching: Lecture; Obligatory; Regular; 2.00 points
Science Teaching -Teaching Certificate: Lecture; 0.00 points
Science Teaching (non thesis MSc Track): Lecture; 2.00 points


Rothschild-Weizmann Program- for 1st year students





Language of Instruction


Attendance and participation


Grade Type

Numerical (out of 100)

Grade Breakdown (in %)


Evaluation Type

Final assignment

Scheduled date 1


Estimated Weekly Independent Workload (in hours)



The course will comprise 9 synchronous 2-hour lectures, along with asynchronous assignments.

The goal of this course is to get acquainted with, and better understand, the field of mathematics education and its development in the last 60 years. The course will present an overview of trends and main characteristics of each decade, related to the following topics (not necessarily in this order):

  • Mathematics curricula.
  • Different perspectives on learning mathematics.
  • Different approaches to teaching mathematics and to classroom culture.
  • National and International tests and their implications.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course- the students should be able to:

  1. Describe main events in the last 60 years of the field of mathematics education.
  2. Identify different forces that influence changes in the field of mathematics education.
  3. Illustrate the complexity of making changes in school mathematics.
  4. Compare opportunities for meaningful learning of mathematics provided by different curriculum materials.
  5. Explain what teachers can learn from research in mathematics education.

Reading List

The following is a tentative list. All sources are available in English. For some, Hebrew translations are available.

Benezet, L. P. (1935-1936). The Teaching of Arithmetic I, II, III: The Story of an experiment. Journal of the National Education Association, 24(8), 241-244, 24(9), 301-303, 25(1), 7-8.

Brownell, W. A. (1947). The place of meaning in the teaching of arithmetic. The Elementary School Journal 47(5), 256-265

Bruner, J. S. (1960). Chapter 2: The importance of structure. In The Process of Education, pp. 17-32

Erlwanger, S. H. (1973). Benny’s conception of rules and answers in IPI mathematics. Journal of Children’s Mathematical Behavior, 1, 7-26.

Skemp, R. (1976). Relational understanding and instrumental understanding. Mathematics Teaching, 77, 20-26.

Llewellyn, A. (2012). Unpacking understanding: the (re)search for the Holy Grail of mathematics education. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 81(3), 385-399.

Schroeder, T. L., & Lester, F. K,. Jr. (1989). Developing understanding in mathematics via problem solving. In P. R. Trafton & A. P Shulte (Eds.), New Directions for Elementary School Mathematics – 1989 Yearbook, (pp 32-42). NCTM

Herbst, P.G. (2002). Establishing a custom of proving in American school geometry: Evolution of the two-column proof in the early twentieth century. Educational Studies in Mathematics 49, 283–312. doi:10.1023/A:1020264906740

Clement, J. (1982). Algebra word problem solutions: Thought processes underlying a common misconception. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 13(1). 16-30.

Lampert, M. (1990). When the problem is not the question and the solution is not the answer: Mathematical knowing and teaching. American Educational Research Journal, 27(1), 29-63.