This study examined how preservice elementary teachers’ perceptions of past schooling experiences and their experience in a mathematics methods course influenced their attitudes about mathematics’ teaching and learning. Pre- and post-surveys were administered to preservice teachers (n = 75) enrolled in a mathematics methods course at a university in the northeastern United States. The purpose of the surveys was to understand entering attitudes about mathematics, whether those attitudes changed, and why. Findings indicated that perceptions of prior schooling experiences influenced preservice teachers’ initial attitudes about mathematics. Over the course of a semester, however, significant positive changes in preservice teachers’ attitudes and confidence to teach mathematics suggest that experiences in the mathematics methods course were conducive to building on preservice teachers’ prior experiences. We argue that regardless of the nature of preservice teachers’ prior experiences in mathematics, those experiences can provide an effective backdrop for developing attitudes towards mathematics teaching and learning aligned with reform recommendations. Recommendations are made for mathematics teacher educators to build upon entering attitudes and experiences in their mathematics methods courses.
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Article Type: Research Article
INT ELECT J MATH ED, 2013, Volume 8, Issue 2-3, 100-122
Publication date: 10 Nov 2013
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