Pre-service teachers’ teaching anxiety

Murat Peker has written an article about Pre-Service Teachers’ Teaching Anxiety about Mathematics and Their Learning Styles. This article was published in the last issue of Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science & Technology Education. A main issue in the article is the combination of focus on mathematics (teaching) anxiety and learning styles. When it comes to learning styles, Peker very much builds upon the theories of Kolb (see p. 337). The theoretical overview is quite interesting, and in many respects new to me.

The study included 506 pre-service teachers from Turkey, and two instruments were used in the study: the Learning Style Inventory and the Mathematics Teaching Anxiety Scale (both questionnaires). The first questionnaire is derived from Kolb’s works, whereas the anxiety scale was developed by the researcher. I miss a discussion of the rationale behind the choice of methods/instruments in the study, and I think this is an important aspect of such a research article. I also think there are a couple of issues about the Learning Style Inventory that should be discussed somewhat. My main critique towards the statements from this questionnaire (as they are presented in the article) is that they appear very general. Being faced with a statement like “When I learn, I like to watch and listen”, my response would vary according to the subject and teaching/learning context I had in mind. As with research on beliefs, I think it would make more sense to investigate views that teachers (pre-service or in-service) have on teaching and learning algebra, geometry, functions etc., rather than their views on teaching and learning in general. My response to a statement like “I learn best when I am practical” would also vary a lot according to what I had in mind when giving the response. I therefore think that the questionnaire has some severe weaknesses that need to be addressed. Other than that, I think the article is interesting, and Peker obviously points to some important issues!

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the differences in the teaching anxiety of pre-service teachers in mathematics according to their learning style preferences. There were a total of 506 pre-service teachers involved in this study. Of the total, 205 were pre-service elementary school teachers, 173 were pre-service elementary mathematics teachers, and 128 were pre-service secondary mathematics teachers. In the collection of the data, the researcher employed two types of instruments: the Learning Style Inventory (LSI) and the Mathematics Teaching Anxiety Scale (MATAS). The LSI determined the participants’ learning style preference: divergent, assimilator, convergent, and accommodator. The MATAS found the participants’ mathematics teaching anxiety level. The researcher used the one-way ANOVA with α = 0.05 in the analysis of the data. The study revealed that there were statistically significant differences in mathematics teaching anxiety between
convergent and the other three types of learners: divergent, accommodator, and assimilator. The difference was in favour of convergent learners. In other words, convergent learners had less mathematics teaching anxiety than the other types of learners. The study also found that divergent learners showed the highest level of mathematics teaching anxiety.

Reference:

Peker, M. (2009). Pre-Service Teachers’ Teaching Anxiety about Mathematics and Their Learning Styles. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science & Technology Education, 5(4), 335-345

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