Issues in the Undergraduate Mathematics
Preparation of School Teachers:
The Journal


Volume 5: Teacher Attributes

Pair, Jeffrey; Johnson, Kim; Lee, Carrie W.; Sawyer, Amanda G. Enhancing Mathematics Learning in Content Courses for K-8 Teachers: Promoting Growth Mindset, Challenging Unproductive Beliefs, and Addressing Mathematics Anxiety (December 2019)

Abstract.In this essay, we describe some challenges that mathematics teacher educators may face when teaching content courses for future elementary and middle school teachers. We summarize research that suggests students in content courses may have fixed mindsets, unproductive beliefs, and mathematics anxiety that can interfere with their ability to learn mathematics content. We suggest possible interventions to address these affective issues, including student-centered instruction, valuing mistakes, process praise, self-directed learning, and activities that inspire student reflection related to his or her own mathematical understandings.

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Jeffery, Tonya D.;Hobson, Lisa D.; Conoyer, Sarah J.; Miller, Karyn E.; Leach, Lesley Examining ED-6 Pre-Service Teachers' Perceptions of Self-Efficacy in Teaching Mathematics (August 2018)

Abstract.Mathematics teacher quality has become a major focus in national education reform efforts. In addition, there is an increasing interest in the effectiveness of teacher preparation programs and the undergraduate preparation of elementary mathematics teachers. Empirical evidence suggests that teacher attitudes, behaviors and values, or dispositions, towards teaching have a significant impact on student outcomes. The purpose of this study is to survey juniors and seniors in an undergraduate teacher preparation program to gauge their perceptions of self-efficacy and comfort with teaching mathematics. The results have implications for, and reaffirm concerns about the undergraduate preparation of elementary mathematics teachers.

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Van Der Sandt, Suriza A Case Study: Teachers' Confidence in Their Own and Their Students' Abilities in Deaf / Hard of Hearing High School Mathematics Classrooms (August 2018)

Abstract. Current educational reform in mathematics education reflects attempts to incorporate the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The CCSS decrees both content standards and mathematical practices (process standards) that students should master if they are to be sufficiently prepared for college or a career. This paper investigates the confidence reported by 16 deaf /hard of hearing high school teachers in their ability to teach all of the mathematical standards and practices, as well as their confidence in their students’ ability to learn the same. Results suggest that differences in these teachers’ confidence, as well as their confidence in their students’ ability, is directly related to differences between teachers with a college-level math qualification and teachers with no tertiary math qualification. Self-identified needs are distilled into suggested topics for, and levels of, professional development that will provide support to fulfill these essentials.

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Turgut, Melih Individual Differences in the Mental Rotation Skills of Turkish Prospective Teachers (March 2015)

Abstract. This study investigated the effects of gender, academic performance and preschool education on mental rotation skills among Turkish prospective teachers. A total of 525 undergraduate students (364 female) from a government university located in western Turkey completed the Mental Rotation Test (MRT). A three-way [2 (gender) × 5 (academic performance) × 2 (preschool education)] between-subjects analysis of variance (ANOVA) revealed that males outperformed females in mental rotation performance (??=.86). Significant effects of preschool education and academic performance on MRT scores were also observed. Significant interactions were observed between gender and academic performance and academic performance and preschool education. There was also a significant three-way interaction of gender, academic performance and preschool education. An interaction between gender and preschool education failed to reach significance.

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Bates, Alan B.; latham, Nancy I.; Kim, Jin-ah Do I Have to Teach Math? Early Childhood Pre-Service Teachers’ Fears of Teaching Mathematics (August 2013)

Abstract. Eighty-nine early childhood pre-service teachers were asked to identify their specific fears towards mathematics and explain why they had those specific fears. The results showed that they possess a wide variety of fears towards mathematics including having a lack of confidence in their teaching ability, a lack of teaching methods, an inability to engage their students, and a lack of mathematical content knowledge. Their explanations as to why these fears exist were very closely related to what they feared and included responses related to teaching the content as well as having a lack of content knowledge. Implications on teacher education programs are also discussed.

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Haciomeroglu, Guney Mathematics Anxiety and Mathematical Beliefs: What Is the Relationship in Elementary Pre-Service Teachers? (February 2013)

Abstract. Three hundred-one pre-service teachers enrolled in elementary teacher education program were administered two surveys to measure mathematics anxiety and mathematical beliefs. Results of the study revealed that there were significant differences between third year and fourth year pre-service teachers regarding their mathematics anxiety and mathematical beliefs. They held strong beliefs about teaching and learning mathematics that were aligned with the teacher education program. The results suggested that the pre-service teachers who held stronger beliefs and felt less anxious were more confident about their abilities to teach mathematics effectively. Thus, the significant relationship between mathematics anxiety and mathematical beliefs should be acknowledged.

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Briley, Jason S. The relationships among mathematics teaching efficacy, mathematics self-efficacy, and mathematical beliefs for elementary pre-service teachers (August 2012)

Abstract.Ninety-five elementary pre-service teachers enrolled in a mathematics content course for elementary school teachers completed 3 surveys to measure mathematics teaching efficacy, mathematics self-efficacy, and mathematical beliefs. The pre-service teachers who reported stronger beliefs in their capabilities to teach mathematics effectively were more likely to possess more sophisticated beliefs as well as were more likely to have more confidence in solving mathematics problems. Mathematical beliefs also had a statistically significant effect on mathematics teaching efficacy and on mathematics self-efficacy. Thus, the significant relationship between mathematical beliefs and mathematics teaching efficacy should be acknowledged by mathematics teacher educators.

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Burton, Megan What is math? Exploring the perception of elementary pre-service teachers (January 2012)

Abstract.Sixty-two elementary pre-service teachers enrolled in a mathematics methods course were asked to “draw math” at the beginning and end of the semester. These drawings were used to examine the initial perceptions and how these changed by the end of the semester of methods and field experiences. Findings describe the various drawings and possible meanings behind the drawings. These drawings help explain the vision of mathematics that teacher candidates have before and after exploring teaching methods and implementing these methods with elementary students. This study provides insight into the experiences and images that pre-service teachers associate with both positive and negative emotions towards mathematics. Rich student dialogue about the drawings led to teacher reflection on how their emotions, attitudes, and experiences influence the way they teach mathematics to students.

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Johnson, Beth; vanderSandt, Suriza “Math makes me sweat” The Impact of Pre-Service Courses on Mathematics Anxiety (December 2011)

Abstract.We investigate mathematics anxiety amongst education majors currently enrolled as pre-service teachers in special education, deaf and hard of hearing, early childhood and elementary education. The impact of a compulsory freshmen content course and sophomore methodology course on mathematics anxiety for each education major was studied over a two year period. Results indicate that the highest level of mathematics anxiety, as measured by the Revised-Mathematics Anxiety Survey (R-MANX), occurred amongst pre-service deaf and hard of hearing teachers as they enter their training as teachers. Results reveal that certain education majors benefit more than others from mathematics training courses.

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Beaver, Cheryl; Beaver, Scott The Effect of Peer-Assessment on the Attitudes of Pre-Service Elementary and Middle School Teachers about Writing and Assessing Mathematics (December 2011)

Abstract.Through a study conducted in a core Foundations of Mathematics course at Western Oregon University, the authors investigate the thesis that peer-grading helps future elementary and middle school teachers improve their own attitudes about writing and assessing mathematics. Study participants were asked to provide scale responses to a series of questions regarding their perceptions of their ability to write mathematics and to assess written mathematics, before and after the course sequence. Students in the experimental group were asked to do a sequence of scored peer grading exercises during the course, while those in the control group were not. Statistically significant positive changes are noted in a variety of the experimental groups’ perceptions, in particular the beliefs that writing about mathematics will help them learn the topic better, that peer-assessment can help them increase their own depth of knowledge about the topic, and that they will eventually become good at writing sentences and paragraphs about mathematics. The full results of the study are presented, along with a representative sample of students’ open comments.

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Kalder, Robin S.; Lesik, Sally A. A classification of attitudes and beliefs towards mathematics for secondary mathematics pre-service teachers and elementary pre-service teachers: An exploratory study using latent class analysis (December 2011)

Abstract.This study describes a series of latent class analyses used to classify pre-service teachers based on their responses to questions on a survey regarding their attitudes and beliefs about mathematics. Results identified the pre-service teachers with the most positive attitudes and beliefs towards mathematics. Belief measures regarding confidence, enjoyment, and motivation were in the two least positive classes for elementary pre-service teachers. Recommendations for exposing pre-service teachers to positive attitudes and beliefs about mathematics are discussed.

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Pettit, Stacie K. Factors influencing middle school mathematics teachers’ Beliefs about ELLs in mainstream classrooms (December 2011)

Abstract.The purpose of this study was to explore the factors influencing the beliefs middle school mathematics teachers have about English Language Learners (ELLs) in mainstream classrooms. One hundred forty-nine middle school mathematics teachers from 11 school systems in Georgia completed the “Middle School Mathematics Teachers’ Beliefs about English Language Learners Questionnaire.” Teachers who had received training felt significantly more prepared to teach ELLs and to help them understand class materials than did teachers who had not received training. In addition, females believed significantly more than males that teachers should modify assignments for ELLs. Teachers need more training in ELL pedagogy to successfully meet the needs of the ELLs they are likely to encounter.

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Brown, Amy Bingham; Westenskow, Arla; Moyer-Packenham, Patricia S. Elementary Pre-Service Teachers: Can They Experience Mathematics Teaching Anxiety Without Having Mathematics Anxiety? (August 2011)

Abstract. Elementary pre-service teachers report high levels of mathematics anxiety (MA), but the construct less widely addressed is their mathematics teaching anxiety (MTA). This study investigated the frequency with which MA stemming from prior experiences leads to MTA. Fifty-three elementary pre-service teachers’ written reflections were analyzed, using a Framework for MA and MTA. The results showed that one-third of the pre-service teachers reported high prior mathematics anxiety but did not experience MTA, suggesting the relationship between MA and MTA is not always linked. Teacher educators must address this relationship to support successful mathematics teaching experiences for pre-service teachers.

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