deep knowledge and understanding of their discipline and of effective pedagogy, as well as the capacity to use pedagogical content knowledge to influence student learning. Research shows that students demonstrate higher levels of achievement when they learn from teachers who are well versed in their subject areas (e.g., see Chapter 3). A critical component of such competence comes from deep knowledge and understanding, as compared to memorization, of the subjects that teachers present to their students (Shulman, 1986; Coble and Koballa, 1996; Manouchehri, 1997; and Grouws and Schultz, 1996).
An expanding body of research is now exploring what content teachers of science and mathematics should know and how they can best acquire such knowledge (NRC, 2000b; Ma, 1999). Although experts have not yet reached consensus on a core body of knowledge that every teacher should know to be able to teach at a given grade level, they agree that how teachers come to understand content knowledge in their disciplines is as important as the specific information they learn.
College and university scientists, mathematicians, and engineers should emphasize conceptual understanding of whatever subject matter they impart to their students. National standards and benchmarks for both content and teacher preparation in science, mathematics, and technology (AAAS, 1993; NRC, 1996a; NCTM, 2000; ITEA, 2000, AMATYC, 1995) can serve as guides to college-level educators. The CSMTP also recommends that content, pedagogy, and field experiences be planned and implemented jointly with colleagues from schools of education and with school practitioners in a partnership. These joint efforts would lead to better connections between content courses in science, mathematics, and technology; methods courses; and field experiences.
Laboratory and fieldwork, including exercises where students design experiments to answer their own questions, should be an integral component of every science course that prospective teachers take (NRC, 1999h). Learning through inquiry and active engagement with subject matter should be a primary feature of all courses that prospective teachers take—disciplinary as well as pedagogical. Students also should be given as many opportunities as possible to solve problems collaboratively as well as individually.
Educators of teachers, especially those in science, mathematics, engineering departments, must recognize that teachers’ content knowledge of science and mathematics grows and matures with time and experience. Thus, teacher education programs, especially for prospective elementary