Using a Mixed Methods Approach to Study the Relationship Between Mathematics Anxiety, Mathematics Teacher Efficacy, and Mathematics Teaching Anxiety in Preservice Elementary School Teachers in Ontario
Mathematics anxiety , Mathematics teaching anxiety , Mathematics teacher efficacy , Preservice teacher education , Teacher education
Preservice elementary school teachers are under ever increasing pressure to deliver quality mathematics instruction to their students. Mathematics anxiety and mathematics teacher efficacy are constructs that are commonly measured in preservice elementary school teachers and are used to help identify future challenges these preservice teachers might have when teaching mathematics. Mathematics teaching anxiety is a relatively new construct measured in preservice elementary school teachers. Mathematics teaching anxiety aims to separate the anxiety experienced when doing mathematics from the anxiety experienced when teaching mathematics. This study used a modified version of an explanatory sequential mixed methods design to examine the relationship between mathematics anxiety, mathematics teaching anxiety, and mathematics teacher efficacy in preservice elementary school teachers in Ontario. Participants were preservice elementary school students across six teacher education programs in Ontario. Questionnaire data was gathered from 185 participants, 16 of whom were also interviewed. Results indicate that mathematics teaching anxiety is significantly correlated to both mathematics teacher efficacy and mathematics anxiety, but there was a lack of correlation between mathematics anxiety and mathematics teacher efficacy. These results indicate that mathematics teaching anxiety does interact with mathematics anxiety and mathematics teacher efficacy and the introduction of mathematics teaching anxiety may disrupt the previous belief that mathematics anxiety and mathematics teacher efficacy are negatively correlated. Furthermore, interview and short answer responses showed that preservice elementary school teachers who were mathematically anxious were aware of their anxieties and developed methods of overcoming their feelings while maintaining effective teaching practices. These results support using mathematics teaching anxiety as a measure for identifying preservice elementary school teachers in need of help teaching mathematics ultimately leading to improved mathematics instruction in elementary school classrooms.