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Threshold Concepts and Attitudes in Mathematics Education: Listening to Students\u27 Past, Present and Projected Stories

By Maria T Northcote


The process of becoming a skilled and confident mathematics teacher can be strongly influenced by the teacher\u27s attitudes to both mathematics and mathematics teaching. Investigations into the attitudes of pre-service teachers have shown that teachers\u27 attitudes directly influence their teaching practices and, subsequently, their students\u27 learning experiences. Teachers\u27 understanding of mathematical content and concepts also impact on the quality of teaching. Hence, the identification of threshold concepts and attitudes associated with teaching mathematics can be beneficial to pre-service teachers and their students. By understanding the concepts associated with teaching mathematics to young children, pre-service teachers come to transcend their lack of confidence about mathematics and grow to realise the value of purposefully applying mathematics to everyday life. Their perceived lack of competence in their own mathematical abilities can be transformed into an appreciation of how mathematics can be taught in an enjoyable and meaningful manner. In the study reported in this paper, the researcher examined the threshold concepts and attitudes about mathematics and mathematics teaching held by two groups of pre-service teachers who were enrolled in a first year mathematics education course as part of an undergraduate teaching degree. The course in which they were enrolled aimed to enable the pre-service teachers to develop an understanding of the mathematical learning, understanding and attitudes normally experienced by young children aged from four to eight years of age. During the course, the preservice teachers were also expected to develop and demonstrate knowledge of the mathematical concepts relevant to teaching children of this age group

Topics: Education
Publisher: SelectedWorks
Year: 2016
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