This paper aimed to examine how pre-service teachers perceive the theory of compressed knowledge in mathematics; hoping to bring new knowledge to the issue of how to link theory and practice in initial teacher education. Twelve pre-service teachers attended two focus groups (one prior to a teaching placement and one after it). Participants were selected using the following break characteristics: self-assessed reflectivity and receptiveness to theory; self-reported judgement of whether the idea of compressed knowledge was useful. The data showed that both the training provider and the accessibility and relevance of the theory are influential in how much pre-service teachers value theory. In addition, compressed knowledge theory was interpreted in two distinct ways: as a ‘tool’ or as a ‘source of enlightenment’. A model of how interpretation of theory may evolve is proposed including the need for a ‘state of perplexity’ during practice to move a theory into knowledge for future action.
Wilkinson, A. (2018, April). Pre-service teachers’ perceptions of theory – the case of compressed knowledge in mathematics. Paper presented at 9th British Congress of Mathematics Education (BCME 9)