Pedagogical content knowledge in preservice teacher education

Jan van Driel, Amanda Berry

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEncyclopaedia / Dictionary EntryOtherpeer-review


    Pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) refers to a specific form of knowledge for teaching related to the transformation of particular content in the context of enhancing student learning. It is the form of knowledge that distinguishes teachers from other kinds of subject matter experts. Teachers need this kind of knowledge to structure the content of their lessons, to choose or develop specific instructional strategies, and to understand and to anticipate how their students might learn, or fail to learn, particular content. Since the term pedagogical content knowledge was introduced to the education research community in 1986 by Lee Shulman in his presidential address to the American Educational Research Association, the term has become widely accepted as a means of describing the unique nature of teachers’ knowledge. Over the last 30 years, research investigating PCK and its integration into teacher education has proliferated. In the context of preservice teacher education, across the globe studies have been conducted on ways of developing PCK in different types of teacher education program, at different levels of schooling (elementary, secondary), and in different subject areas, in particular science and mathematics. However, while there is much support for the notion of PCK from the educational research community and researchers have begun to explore different ways of investigating what teachers know, there are few concrete examples of PCK in specific subject domains, especially outside of science and mathematics. Explanations to account for this paucity of concrete examples include the tacit nature of teachers’ knowledge and the lack of a shared structure or language to adequately capture and discuss that knowledge. In addition, teachers are often unaware of the knowledge they possess, due to its highly contextualized nature, associated with particular students, classroom situations, and events.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Teacher Education
    EditorsMichael A. Peters
    Place of PublicationSingapore Singapore
    Number of pages6
    ISBN (Electronic)9789811311796
    Publication statusPublished - 2019

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