Hélia Oliveira, Irene Polo Blanco, Ana Henriques


The importance of students being acquainted with algebraic ideas before secondary education has been revealed in the research literature. It is therefore essential that prospective elementary teachers (PTs) be prepared to instill an early algebra perspective in their teaching. However, PTs often show difficulties in algebra content knowledge, which need to be diagnosed aiming to assist them in developing the required knowledge to teach according to that perspective. This study aims to understand what aspects of functional thinking Spanish and Portuguese elementary PTs exhibit at the beginning of their teacher education program. The findings show that although PTs from both countries use different strategies to generalize functional relationships, the occurrence of successful strategies is low. Also, most participants provide local approaches in their interpretation of relationships between variables and reveal difficulties in understanding and connecting different representations of functions. These difficulties show that PTs lack important knowledge about functional thinking. By providing a framework concerning the functional thinking required for PTs to teach within an early algebra perspective, we shed light on a necessary step for teacher education programs to diagnose PTs’ functional thinking and to assist them in developing the needed mathematical knowledge to teach accordingly.


Early Algebra; Functional Thinking; Generalization; Prospective Teachers’ Knowledge

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22342/jme.12.2.13745.257-278


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Journal on Mathematics Education
Doctoral Program on Mathematics Education
Faculty of Teacher Training and Education, Universitas Sriwijaya
Kampus FKIP Bukit Besar
Jl. Srijaya Negara, Bukit Besar
Palembang - 30139
email: jme@unsri.ac.id

p-ISSN: 2087-8885 | e-ISSN: 2407-0610

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Journal on Mathematics Education (JME) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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