Prospective Teachers' Affective Experiences of an Inquiry-Oriented Mathematics for Elementary School Teachers Course
Conforti Preszler, Noelle
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As mathematics education literature emphasizes the importance for students to be actively engaged in the learning of mathematics, research has articulated how teachers can implement such courses and teacher education has encouraged prospective teachers to take on such teaching methods. However, little is known about how students, particularly undergraduates, psychologically experience the inquiry-oriented math classroom. This study contributes to such literature by exploring students', specifically prospective teachers', affective experiences of an inquiry-oriented Mathematics for Elementary School Teachers content course, including influences of their existing affective experiences with mathematics and their anticipated future mathematics teaching. The self-determination theory constructs of competence, relatedness, and autonomy are leveraged to carefully attend to the affective experiences of students, making direct connections between the participatory and cognitive demands of the inquiry-oriented classroom and students' affective experiences. Characterization of the classroom in this study revealed that students were expected to discuss mathematics with others, construct their own solution strategies, be intellectually courageous, and to let their thinking develop over time. Three major findings around prospective teachers' affective experiences in mathematics were revealed: (1) students expanded the ways in which they felt competent in mathematics while participating in an inquiry-oriented course; (2) students' new sense of relatedness in math class stemmed from the community fostered within an inquiry-oriented course; and (3) students valued having the autonomy to pursue their own mathematical reasoning. In addition, there were two ways that students' affective experiences within this course appeared to promote their developing teaching practices: (1) students felt more positive about teaching mathematics after participating in an inquiry-oriented math course; and (2) experiences within this inquiry-oriented classroom fostered prospective teachers' desires to support student inquiry in their future mathematics teaching practices. These results suggest that prospective teachers had an influential experience within this inquiry-oriented math course, one that might positively affect their relationships with mathematics as a discipline and their developing mathematics teaching practices.
- Education - Seattle