Gregory Hine (University of Notre Dame Australia) and Sandra Herbert (Deakin University)
A well-established claim is that teacher education programs are pivotal in the professional preparation and formation of pre-service secondary mathematics teachers (PSMTs). Despite this claim, there appears to be a lack of understanding of how best to prepare PSMTs for the profession.
The purpose of this study was to examine and monitor changes over time in PSMTs’ views about approaches to teaching mathematics in secondary schools, before and after undertaking mathematics teaching methods courses (including practicum teaching). These views included their perceived readiness to teach secondary mathematics, as well as an indication of their likelihood to use particular teaching approaches for mathematics.
For this study, PSMTs at two Australian universities were surveyed before and after they undertook their respective teaching methods courses, and interviewed upon course completion. Overall, survey data did not indicate a significant change in PSMTs’ views of readiness to teach mathematics from either university (N = 61 pre-survey, N = 34 post-survey).
An analysis of interview data revealed that PSMTs did not feel ready to teach secondary mathematics, with their emphases focused on two areas where improvement was needed. The areas requiring improvement were their mathematical content knowledge and mathematical pedagogical knowledge. Nevertheless, nearly half of the interviewees reported feeling confident to teach mathematics to lower secondary classes (Years 7-10). Despite these concessions, all interviewed PSMTs outlined at least one area where they had experienced professional growth since commencing a teacher education degree.
Issues in Educational Research, 32(2), 533-554. http://www.iier.org.au/iier32/hine.pdf