Mathematics Special Content Competencies of Elementary School Teachers
According to the results of national and international level examinations, the achievement of students in Turkey in mathematics is low. Elementary school teachers play a significant role in the education of students. Elementary school teachers differ from other teachers in that they are responsible for teaching more than one subject. In determining the competencies and performance indicators of elementary school teachers, the Ministry of National Education has paid regard to the common ground
... the common ground and integrating characteristics of the subjects rather than the special content knowledge of each subject. However, owing to the fact that each subject taught by the elementary school teachers necessitates different disciplines and approaches, it is also essential to determine the special content competencies related to the subjects being taught. The objective of this study is to analyze the opinions of elementary school teachers on their mathematical special content competencies. The study group consists of 72 elementary school teachers who are employed in official primary schools in Manisa. The data were collected through questionnaires. The collected raw data were analyzed by content analysis. Mathematics special content competencies of elementary school teachers were grouped under three main categories. These themes are mathematics special content knowledge, knowledge about mathematics teaching and learning as well as confidence, attitude and values regarding mathematics. Teachers' opinions particularly underline the significance of field content knowledge, while laying less weight on associating the program content with daily life and with other subjects. It is observed that the teachers are aware of the information in the written sources; however, they are not fully aware of the process of putting the program content into practice, nor their skills. Some teachers are aware of the fact that it is important to teach mathematics topics and associate them with life, rather than possessing knowledge about mathematics special content at an advanced level. Furthermore, little emphasis is given to "utilizing appropriate measurement-evaluation methods". A great majority of teachers stress keeping the students active and teaching the subject by taking the students' level into account; however, only few make reference to the importance of treating students equally and knowing about the differences among students.