Preservice Elementary Teachers’ Beliefs toward Mathematics and Mathematics Teaching
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As they began their one-year teacher education program 138 elementary school teacher candidates completed a questionnaire designed to measure their beliefs concerning the nature of mathematics, measured on a scale from absolutist to fallibilist, and their beliefs concerning effective mathematics instruction, measured on a scale from traditional to constructivist. Interviews were conducted with volunteer questionnaire participants, with selection based on the questionnaire results and using two sets of criteria. Study 1. involved 8 teacher candidates showing distinct absolutist or fallibilist views of mathematics and individual interviews explored participants' beliefs concerning the use of information and communication technology, particularly interactive whiteboards (IWB), in the teaching and learning of mathematics. Participants with absolutist beliefs about the nature of mathematics tended to focus on the IWB as a presentation tool, while those with fallibilist beliefs appreciated the use of the IWB to support student exploration. Study 2. involved 8 teacher candidates with apparently misaligning absolutist beliefs concerning the nature of mathematics and constructivist beliefs concerning teaching. Interviews exploring participants' favoured instructional approaches, particularly those involving the use of manipulatives, showed that constructivist views involved essentially surface beliefs and that in fact manipulatives would be employed to support traditional direct instruction.