Instructional Practices Related to Prospective Elementary School Teachers’ Motivation for Fractions

Apr. 25, 2009

Source: Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, Volume 12, Number 2 / April 2009, pages 89-109.

The purpose of this study was to better understand prospective elementary school teachers’ motivations for working with fractions before and after taking a course designed to deepen their understanding of mathematics, as well as what instructional practices might be related to any changes detected in their motivations. 85 education students were given a motivation questionnaire at the beginning and end of the semester, and observations were made of the 9 days when fractions were taught. Three levels of teacher data were collected to understand instructional practices.
Students’ ratings of the importance and usefulness of fractions (value), self-concept of ability, and anxiety were near the center of the scale at pre-test, with only value in the desired direction. At post-test, value and self-concept of ability increased while anxiety decreased, but these changes differed somewhat by instructor. In particular, reform-oriented practices, such as engaging students in high-level discourse, seemed to be associated with lowered anxiety.

Updated: Jun. 11, 2009