From Preface to Practice: A Narrative Study of Women Learning to Teach Mathematics
AuthorStoehr, Kathleen Jablon
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractMy dissertation research explored the experiences of mathematics anxieties in women elementary preservice teachers while learning mathematics as K-12 students and while learning to teach mathematics. Previous studies conducted in mathematics teacher education have emphasized the importance of preservice teachers' mathematical knowledge for teaching, as a confident and competent mathematics teacher is a vital necessity in the classroom (Beilock, Gunderson, Ramirez, & Levine, 2010; Gavin & Reis, 2003; Huebner, 2009). As evidence of elementary preservice teachers' anxiety, I analyzed three women preservice teachers' oral and written narratives about their experiences with learning mathematics and learning to teach mathematics, which I collected over eighteen months at key moments in their teacher preparation program. My findings have revealed that for some women elementary preservice teachers, mathematics anxiety may be an issue or concern that remains consistent and recurs for decades. In fact, the multiple stories that the three preservice teachers had to tell indicated that their experiences in learning mathematics led them to develop a unique coping strategy to deal with mathematics anxiety. They continued to utilize their strategy repeatedly across their experiences as a student learning mathematics and learning to teach mathematics, even when the strategy sometimes failed to protect them from stress, embarrassment, and demoralization. Moreover, these coping strategies appeared to become so powerful that when the women confronted situations in which they felt expected to know mathematical content that they did not understand, they used their unique strategies for coping with mathematics anxiety rather than seriously attempting to learn that content. In this manner, these coping strategies often appeared to have injurious effects on their mathematics learning. Given that my study only included three participants, I suggest future research that mathematics teacher education researchers may want to consider. I also propose ways in which mathematics teacher educators might address issues of mathematics anxiety in elementary teacher preparation programs.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Teaching & Teacher Education