Mathematics Teacher Professional Journals: What Topics Appear and How Has This Changed over Time?

2019-09-12T13:55:53Z (GMT) by Colin Foster Matthew Inglis
Mathematics teacher continuing professional development (CPD) is widely recognised to encompass more than attending courses and engaging in formal activities with colleagues in school. Teachers’ professional reading is an under-researched aspect of CPD, which takes place out of view, but which has the potential to shape teachers’ beliefs and practices. Mathematics teacher professional journals are relatively widely read by teachers and are a source of articles on a range of issues concerning the teaching and learning of mathematics. Such articles will to some extent reflect the interests of mathematics teachers and play a role in informing their teaching, thus indirectly affecting students’ experiences in the classroom. But what topics do the articles in these journals focus on, and how has this changed over time? In this study, we examined the entire archive of the two leading UK mathematics teacher professional journals (Mathematics Teaching and Mathematics in School, published since 1957 and 1971, respectively; in total, almost 15 million words). We found an increasing prevalence over time of articles about classroom activities and people-centred discussions and a decreasing prevalence of articles focusing on textbooks. We discuss these and other trends, offer tentative accounts for them and consider ways in which the beliefs and practices of mathematics teachers may be reflected in, and have been informed by, these publications over time.