Teacher education: an agent of change for attitudes towards mathematics and science/technology

Year: 1994

Author: Bobis, Janette, Cusworth, Robyn

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper reports on the initial phases of a longitudinal investigation of the attitudes of preservice primary teachers toward mathematics and science/technology and toward the teaching of these subjects.

Four aspects of the project distinguish it from previous investigations of preservice teachers' attitudes toward mathematics and science. First, the project takes the perspective that preservice education can have more than a superficial and short-lived impact on the attitudes of beginning teachers (Denscombe, 1980; Martinez, 1992). Instead, it suggests that preservice programs have the potential to change not only their existing attitudes toward mathematics and science, but their attitude toward teaching practices. Secondly, research concerned with attitude toward mathematics and science has traditionally been reported in the literature separately. This investigation raises issues common to both disciplines and allows insights to be gained from a comparison of the two. Thirdly, the study identifies the importance of calculators and computers in influencing attitude toward mathematics and science. Previous investigations have not considered the impact of technology on the attitudes of preservice teachers. Technological changes in the curriculum will invariably be accompanied by changes in attitude toward mathematics and science and toward the teaching of these subjects. Lastly, multiple data gathering techniques provide a more holistic perspective on the change process, allowing the researchers to focus on the underlying reasons for attitudinal shifts. While traditional quantitative and qualitative techniques provide the basis, the actual change process was monitored via reflective journals.

Observational data collected during practice teaching provides evidence of attitudinal changes transferring to classroom practice.