Although there is some common pedagogical ground for all teachers of mathematics, there is a fundamental difference in the topics and depth of content knowledge required for students preparing to teach elementary, middle, or high school mathematics. The middle school teacher preparation program at Western Oregon University (WOU) seeks to develop foundational content for middle school teachers while exploring best practices such as active learning, appropriate use of technology, and hands-on exploration. WOU offers many courses specifically for middle school teachers that are designed to develop mathematical maturity and content knowledge while connecting the subject matter to the middle school curriculum and standards. This article describes the structure of WOU's middle school mathematics program and the courses designed specifically for middle school mathematics teachers. We point out the difference in the mathematical preparation and requirements for middle school mathematics teachers compared to elementary teachers and high school mathematics teachers and explain the licensure requirements for middle school mathematics teachers in Oregon.
Background and Philosophy of the Program
Western Oregon University's math curriculum for K–8 teacher preparation was among ten programs singled out as meeting critical coursework needs by the National Council on Teacher Quality . The teacher preparation program as a whole was named the 2010 recipient of the Christa McAuliffe Award for Excellence in Teacher Education by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU).