Pre-service teachers’ mathematics anxiety

Mathematics is a troublesome subject for many pupils, but even more disturbing is the fact that several pre-service teachers have math anxiety. Mehmet Bekdemir discusses whether or not pre-service teachers’ math anxiety relates to their own negative experiences as students. Bekdemir points to teacher behavior as a major factor, and he claims that teacher education programs “should be designed and implemented so as to prevent student anxiety from becoming a barrier to mathematics achievement and a cycle of anxiety”. The title of Bekdemir’s article is The pre-service teachers’ mathematics anxiety related to depth of negative experiences in mathematics classroom while they were students, and it was published online in Educational Studies in Mathematics a couple of days ago. Here is the abstract of the article:

One of the aims of this study is to examine whether the worst experiences and most troublesome mathematics classroom experience affect mathematics anxiety in pre-service elementary teachers. Another goal is to find out how the causes of their anxiety relate to these negative experiences. The participants were 167 senior elementary pre-service teachers. Three different instruments were used to collect data; Mathematics Anxiety Rating Scale, Worst Experience and Most Troublesome Mathematics Classroom Experience Reflection Test, and Interview Protocol. The findings show that many pre-service teachers have mathematics anxiety and that the worst experience and the most troublesome mathematics classroom experience have a direct influence on mathematics anxiety in pre-service teachers. Also, the majority of instances of participants’ mathematics anxiety are caused by the teachers, their behavior or teaching approaches in their past.