that makes it comprehensible to others…. [It] also includes an understanding of what makes the learning of specific concepts easy or difficult: the conceptions and preconceptions that students of different ages and backgrounds bring with them to the learning.”

Thus, pedagogical content knowledge is a type of knowledge that may be unique to teaching. It is based on the ways that teachers relate what they know about what they teach (subject matter knowledge) to what they know about effective teaching (pedagogical knowledge). The synthesis and integration of these two types of knowledge characterize pedagogical content knowledge (Cochran, 1997).

Different disciplines may require a variety of approaches to teaching in order for students to learn the content of that discipline effectively. Pedagogical content knowledge implies that teachers know the content of the discipline and that they teach, organize, and represent that content in ways that address students’ needs and enhance learning.


Usually refers to the time toward the end of the preservice education experience that student teachers are able to work with teachers and engage in actual classroom teaching as well as a variety of related experiences. In some cases, practicum refers to “student teaching.” However, it also may refer to shorter periods of time when students, especially those who are beginning in teacher education, can gain experience in schools to help them decide whether they would like to continue pursuing teaching as a career.


A series of examinations administered by the Educational Testing Service that are used to assess qualifications both for admission into teacher education programs at some colleges and universities and for certification following the completion of a preservice program. Thirty-five of the 43 states that now

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