Feeling good about teaching mathematics: addressing anxiety amongst pre-service teachers
Boyd, W, Foster, A, Smith, J & Boyd, WE 2014, 'Feeling good about teaching mathematics: addressing anxiety amongst pre-service teachers', Creative Education, vol. 5, no. 4, pp. 207-217.
Research regarding pre-service teachers’ attitudes towards teaching mathematics has revealed that many pre-service teachers experience high levels of mathematics anxiety about both the learning of mathematics and the teaching of the mathematics curriculum. Little is known about the particular characteristics of pre-service teachers that make them more likely to experience anxiety about mathematics in the early years. Addressing anxiety towards mathematics and the teaching of mathematics could effectively eliminate later problems in teaching. Teaching mathematics confidently is associated with teachers’ beliefs about their mathematical ability, which is their mathematical self-efficacy. This paper reports on an investigation into the anxiety of first- year pre-service teachers towards their future teaching of mathematics. 223 students enrolled in a first-year mathematics unit for birth to eight years, in the Bachelor of Education of Early Childhood and Primary Education Courses attributed their beliefs about mathematics to external—their past teachers—or internal factors: that one is either good at mathematics or not. The findings highlight the need for pre-service teacher’s anxiety about mathematics to be addressed within the university education classroom context so that pre-service teachers become capable and competent teachers of mathematics.