Articulation of Practice: Teacher Action Theories and Student Use of Calculators in Upper NSW Primary Classrooms

Year: 2000

Author: WHITE, A

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Research studies have demonstrated that teachers experience difficulties in the articulation of their classroom practice and their teaching values. Attempts at articulation that have been reported suffer from inconsistencies between a teacher's espoused theory and theory of action. Research that had been completed, both locally and overseas, reflected strong early opposition to calculator use in primary schools and evidence suggested that this early opposition exerted a continuing influence in the classroom (Howard, 1992). Thus teachers may support the use of calculators in mathematics as a general principle but refrain from calculator use in their own classrooms. The early researchers, Argyris and Schon (1974) claimed behaviour was driven by individual action theories that were different from espoused theories and there were difficulties in uncovering these action theories. This study reports upon the use of a modification to the Theory of Planned Behaviour (Ajzen, 1995, 1988) in order to uncover the teacher action theories regarding the student use of calculators in primary mathematics classrooms from a selected sample of NSW upper primary teachers (N = 115). It will discuss these theories and their use in assisting teachers in their critical reflection and articulation of current practice.