The notion of function by basic education preservice teachers

Viseu, F., P. Mendes, and H. Rocha The notion of function by basic education preservice teachers. ATEE Winter Conference ‘Science and mathematics education in the 21st century. Brussels: ATEE and CIEd, 2019.


The current curricular guidelines for mathematics education in Portugal emphasize the relevance of working with different representations of functions to promote understanding. Given this relevance, we seek understanding about the notion of function held by 37 basic education pre-service teachers in their first year of a master’s course. Data were collected through a task focusing on identifying functions in situations based on different representations. The content analysis technique was then adopted in the search for an understanding of the justifications given by the participants. The results achieved suggest it is easier for the pre-service teachers to identify examples that are not functions than examples that are functions. There is also a tendency for greater accuracy in the identification of examples expressed by tables than by algebraic expressions. The justifications presented show a notion of function as a relation between values of two non-empty sets, but without guaranteeing that this relation is single-valued.