The Legacy of Schooling: Student Teachers' Initial Mathematical Feelings and Competence

Fred Biddulph


Government policies in New Zealand have lead to four-year primary teacher
education degrees being reduced to three years. In the process, mathematics teacher
education, at least at the University of Waikato, has been reduced accordingly. This
has prompted 'a serious consideration of primary student teachers' initial
feelings/attitudes about, and understanding of, mathematics. Data collected from
242 beginning student teachers about their feelings/attitudes, and from 166
regarding their understanding, are reported in this paper. The results show that a
significant proportion of the students have deeply negative feelings and attitudes,
and lack understanding of relatively simple mathematics. Suggestions for addressing
the lack of understanding are sought.


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