This study was undertaken in order 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. Eighty-five 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 posttest, 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.
Kristie Jones Newton has written an article that was published in Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education on Wednesday. The article is entitled Instructional practices related to prospective elementary school teachers’ motivation for fractions. Here is Newton’s article abstract: