The effects of the integration of thinking skills on preservice teachers' beliefs about mathematics and teaching mathematics
This study examined the effects of the integration of thinking skills on preservice teachers' beliefs about mathematics and teaching mathematics. The study identified the beliefs of preservice elementary teachers' about mathematics and teaching mathematics at both the beginning and the end of a semester, identified changes in those beliefs, and examined the role of the integration of thinking skills played in affecting those changes. A written questionnaire designed to identify beliefs about mathematics and the teaching of mathematics containing both close-ended and open-ended questions was administered to all the students enrolled in a required geometry course at the beginning of the semester. Eight students participated in a follow-up interview to clarify their questionnaire responses and to provide additional information concerning their beliefs. Three students were selected for further study. These students completed a second written questionnaire and participated in a second interview at the end of the semester in order to ascertain their beliefs about mathematics and teaching mathematics at the conclusion of the study. At the beginning of the study one participant viewed mathematics as primarily procedural. By the end of the study this participant expressed an appreciation for a conceptual emphasis and favored the use of a variety of teaching techniques. A second participant entered the study with beliefs about mathematics and teaching mathematics that primarily aligned with the beliefs encouraged by NCTM. Her beliefs remained largely unchanged. A third participant began the study with little confidence in her mathematical abilities. At the end of the study, however, her confidence had increased and she expressed the belief that she was capable of teaching mathematics in the future.