The Importance Of Pedagogical Content Knowledge

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Since the passing of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), legislators have been holding teachers accountable for the success of their students based upon reading and math scores. Last month President Obama signed The Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 ending the controversial NCLB era. Instead of having a national system judge teachers and schools, states are permitted to develop their own methods for judging school quality. However, states are still mandated to test students annually in math and reading in grades three through eight and once in high school and to publicly report the scores according to race, income, ethnicity, disability and whether students are English-language learners (Layton, 2015). Regardless of whether the federal…show more content…
“Pedagogical content knowledge is a special combination of content and pedagogy that is uniquely constructed by teachers and thus is the "special" form of an educator’s professional knowing and understanding” (Solis, 2009). This is not a novel idea. Lee Shulman, a teacher education researcher, reintroduced the term as he was interested in improving knowledge on teaching and teaching preparation. It was his belief that only developing broad pedagogical skills was inadequate for preparing content teachers just as was promoting education that stressed simply content knowledge (Solis, 2009). Shulman suggested key elements of pedagogical content knowledge including knowledge of representations of subject matter, understanding of students’ conceptions of the subject and the learning and teaching implications that were associated with the specific subject matter, general pedagogical knowledge which are teaching strategies or techniques. His definition of the knowledge base for teaching encompassed other elements: curriculum knowledge; knowledge of educational contexts, and knowledge of the purposes of education (Shulman, 1986). Without the appropriate teacher preparation, many new teachers feel overwhelmed and leave the profession. In the summary report “No Dream Denied: A Pledge to America’s Children” (2010), Ingersoll analyzed the results of a survey…show more content…
A teacher must first know the information in order to facilitate student learning. Most states have teacher subject matter tests, or teacher certification, in which teachers must prove he or she can pass a minimum level to be considered “highly qualified”. Dan Goldhaber examined the relationship between teacher testing and teacher effectiveness. By using a unique data set from North Carolina that linked teachers to individual students in grades three through six over a 10-year period (1994-95 through 2003-04), Goldhaber determined that a positive relationship between some teacher certification tests and student achievement existed (2007). In another study conducted in mathematics in New York City, Goldhaber concluded the “effects of teacher licensure on student achievement is greater than that of a content major in the field, suggesting that what licensed teachers learn in methods/education coursework/practice adds to their abilities in the classroom” (NCATE). Having content training helps ensure teacher effectiveness and student

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