Mathematical Knowledge for Tutoring: Understanding What Tutors Know and What We Can Learn from Them
Tutoring centers can provide a rich environment for the study of learning and teaching, due to the unique relationship between tutors and students and the varying environments of tutoring centers. However, unlike classroom teachers who are expected to be masters of pedagogy and content, tutors are still students themselves, and possess different types of knowledge. Just as the framework of MKT has been incredibly useful in understanding classroom instruction, the framework of mathematical knowledge for tutoring (MKTu) can help us to better understand the roles of tutors. This study qualitatively analyzed mock-tutoring interactions with three tutors from a university math tutoring center using the framework of MKTu. Tutors assisted a mock-student in solving a Calculus I problem followed by a reflective interview and a written assessment over related calculus content. The findings suggest that content knowledge alone is not the only domain which influences a tutor's decisions, with tutors also relying heavily on knowledge of students and knowledge of curriculum. Not only do these results help improve our understanding of how tutors use MKTu to make decisions while tutoring, they ultimately reveal a potential reframing of the tutoring process with implications for how tutoring centers are structured and the roles of tutoring in general.