Pre-Service Teachers’ Mathematics Language and Reflection in the Context of an Early Childhood Mathematics Methods Course
Boyd, Soleil August
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Preschool teachers are expected to engage young children in challenging and supportive mathematics learning. Rich and responsive language experiences in mathematics support children’s language acquisition and engagement related to mathematics, however, such engaging experiences may be minimally available to many young children. Professional development programs designed for in-service teachers have developed approaches which help teachers in their classrooms develop better mathematics teaching skills. Another important group to prepare for effective early mathematics teaching is pre-service teachers. The current study examined a pre-service early mathematics course at a university and the nature of pre-service teachers’ mathematics language, responsiveness, and reflection, and whether and how these key elements of practice changed. A multiple-case qualitative design was used to follow the practices and reflections of four pre-service teachers. Findings indicate that during the course pre-service teachers’ frequency of mathematics language increased and the responsiveness of their language to children increased. They also engaged in “productive reflection” (Bayat, 2010) that was generative of improved practice and demonstrated improved beliefs related to children’s abilities and their own practices teaching mathematics. Recommendations for the design of professional development which supports pre-service teachers’ mathematics practices are provided. A range of materials may support pre-service teachers’ confidence and the use of a broader range of mathematics language, and teacher educators should select materials that support pre-service teachers’ implementation of new practices. Reflection should be carefully scaffolded to achieve specific aims.
- Education - Seattle