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About CPTM: General Mission


In This Section
The principal aim of the Center for Proficiency in Mathematics Teaching is to build the capacity of the system of professional education for preservice and practicing teachers of mathematics. We do so through the development of ideas, prototypes, and examples of materials and approaches for teachers' learning. In particular, we focus on the improvement of teachers' opportunities to learn mathematics for teaching and to learn to use mathematical knowledge effectively in practice.

We do so through three strands of activity:

1. We design and analyze approaches to developing teachers' mathematical proficiency that emphasize using mathematical knowledge in teaching. We explore a variety of ways to connect teachers' opportunities to learn mathematics to teaching practice.

2. We support and investigate a variety of approaches to the initial and continuing education of professionals who teach teachers of mathematics. This includes doctoral students in mathematics and mathematics education, post-doctoral fellows seeking to develop specialization in the mathematics education of teachers, and practicing mathematics educators, mathematics teacher leaders, local curriculum and professional education specialists, and mathematicians. Our activities include the development of doctoral programs, study groups, projects, and summer institutes.

3. We contribute to building national and international capacity for the education of teachers of mathematics. One main activity is to build connections between the Center and the primary professional organizations whose members teach and work with teachers of mathematics. We investigate a variety of ways in which the Center can extend its reach through substantive relationships and cooperative activity with these professional organizations. We also explore other ways to focus attention on and provide resources for the education of teachers of mathematics.

Guiding Research Questions

The Center for Proficiency in Teaching Mathematics is engaged in the study and development of mathematics teaching. Our focus is on the professional leaning that supports teaching for mathematics proficiency. Three aims orient the research and design activities of the Center around a core set of questions:

Developing mathematical knowledge for teaching:
  • What knowledge matters in helping students become proficient in mathematics?

  • How do teachers draw on and use knowledge of mathematics to teach students well?

  • How can teachers learn to use mathematical knowledge effectively in their teaching?

Connecting opportunities for professional learning to the practice of teaching:
  • How can teaching practice – one’s own and records from others’ practice—be a better source of learning?

  • In what ways can opportunities for professional learning be more effectively based in or on practice?

  • How can teachers’ opportunities to learn mathematics be better connected to the ways in which mathematical knowledge is used in teaching?

Building capacity for the study and development of mathematics teaching:
  • How can doctoral study and post-doctoral opportunities be designed to prepare professionals who can contribute to the study and development of mathematics teaching?

  • How can productive connections be built among different institutions and professional organizations engaged in professional education of mathematics teachers, teacher educators, and school leaders?