An investigation of selected variables and their effect upon the attitude toward the teaching of elementary school mathematics by preservice elementary school teachers



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Introduction. In addition to the learning of facts, concepts, and principles, children also learn attitudes while attending elementary school. Attitude towards mathematics is one of those attitudes and is developed within the child as a consequence of experiences in math-related situations. Most of the math-related experiences of a child are in the context of the classroom under the influence and supervision of the teacher. Research shows that the attitude of the teacher is a prime determinant of the attitude of the child. Research regarding the attitude of prospective elementary school teachers toward mathematics indicates that there exists a great many negative feelings toward the subject. It has been found that these negative feelings towards mathematics are a consequence of the elementary school experiences of the prospective teacher. These prospective teachers enter the academic program for training to become a teacher with negative feelings toward mathematics, and if no changes occur in their feelings, they will begin their teaching career with negative attitudes toward a subject which they must effectively and positively present to elementary students in order to not continue the perpetuation of negative attitudes toward mathematics through another generation of students. Purpose. It is the purpose of this study to look at the variables to which the student is exposed while enrolled in the elementary school mathematics methods course to determine their influence upon the attitude of the teacher toward the teaching of mathematics. These variables have been identified as being the prospective teacher's attitude toward mathematics, mathematics achievement, difference in (choice of) mathematics methods course instructor, and type of field experience. Procedures. This study was conducted during the 1981 Spring semester. The Elementary School Mathematics Methods course met for one 3-hour session each week for 14 weeks. The 41 subjects enrolled in the section of the course of their choice. The Elementary School Competency Test and the Revised Mathematics Attitude Scale were administered to all students enrolled in the course during the first class session. The field experience occurred during the last six weeks of the semester. Basic texts, course content, field experience requirements, and testing procedures were the same for all sections of the course. Upon completion of the course and during the final class session, the Attitude Toward Teaching Mathematics scale, which had been developed in a pilot study during the 1981 Fall semester, was administered. Multiple regression analysis was used to determine the contribution of (1) achievement in mathematics, (2) attitude toward mathematics, and (3) type of field experience associated with the elementary school mathematics methods course to the attitude of the prospective elementary school teacher toward the teaching of elementary school mathematics. [...]



Mathematics--Study and teaching (Elementary), Mathematics teachers