Considering Pre-service Teacher Disposition Towards Mathematics


  • Audrey Cooke Curtin University


Thepush to ensure pre-service teachers are numerate, on face value, isappropriate. However, the way in which numeracy is described is of greatimportance as it will determine what is assessed and potentially how it isassessed. The way numeracy is described will also impact on how pre-serviceeducators assist pre-service teachers to develop their numeracy. This paperproposes that numeracy incorporates mathematical skills and disposition towardsmathematics. A discussion of what disposition towards mathematics is and how itmay be measured is provided, together with the proposition that addressingpre-service teacher disposition towards mathematics may help pre-serviceteachers to develop their numeracy – numeracy that reflects willingness toactually use mathematics in the real world. Suggestions on how this may beachieved are outlined.

Author Biography

Audrey Cooke, Curtin University


Albee, J. J., & Piveral, J. A. (2003). Management process for defining and monitoring teacher dispositions. The International Journal of Educational Management, 17(7), 346–356. doi: 10.1108/09513540310501030

Ananiadou, K. and M. Claro (2009). 21st Century Skills and Competences for New Millennium Learners in OECD Countries. OECD Education Working Papers, No. 41, OECD Publishing. doi: 10.1787/218525261154

Atallah, F., Bryant, S. L., & Dada, R. (2010). A research framework for studying conceptions and dispositions of mathematics: A dialogue to help students learn. Research in Higher Education Journal, 7, 1-8. Retrieved 20 January 2014 from

Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers [AAMT]. (1997). Numeracy=everyone’s business. Report of the Numeracy Education Strategy Development Conference. Adelaide, SA: Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers. Retrieved January 18, 2014, from

Australian Government Department of Education (2013). Quality teaching teacher training. Retrieved 19 January 2014 from

Australian Government Department of Industry (n.d.). Numeracy. Retrieved January 18, 2014, from

Beswick, K. (2005). The beliefs/practice connection in broadly defined contexts. Mathematics Education Research Journal, 17(2), 39-68. doi: 10.1007/BF03217415

Beswick, K. (2006). Changes in preservice teachers' attitudes and beliefs: The net impact of two mathematics education units and intervening experiences. School Science and Mathematics, 106(1), 36-47. doi: 10.1111/j.1949-8594.2006.tb18069.x

Beswick, K., Ashman, D., Callingham, R., & McBain, D. (2011). Teachers’ and pre-service teachers’ confidence to teach primary school mathematics. Paper presented at the 2011 AARE international Research Conference, Hobart, Australia, 27 November-1 December, 2011. Retrieved January 20, 2014, from

Cavanagh, R. & Sparrow, L. (2010a). Measuring mathematics anxiety: Paper 1 – Developing a construct model. Paper presented at the 2010 AARE International Research in Education Conference, Melbourne, Australia, 28 November-2 December, 2010. Retrieved January 21, 2014, from

Cavanagh, R. & Sparrow, L. (2010b). Measuring mathematics anxiety: Paper 2 – Constructing and validating the measure. Paper presented at the 2010 AARE International Research in Education Conference, Melbourne, Australia, 28 November-2 December, 2010. Retrieved January 20, 2014, from

Dottin, E. S. (2009). Professional judgment and dispositions in teacher education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 25, 83/88. doi: 10.1016/j.tate.2008.06.005

Ernest, P. (1989). The knowledge, beliefs and attitudes of the mathematics teacher: a model. Journal of Education for Teaching: International research and pedagogy, 15(1), 13-33. doi: 10.1080/0260747890150102

Fuentes Rivera, M. & Gomez-Chacon, I. M. (2013). Attitudes towards mathematics of teachers in service of telesecundaria: An exploratory study. Paper presented at the Eighth Congress of European Research in Mathematics Education (CERME 8), Antalya, Turkey, 6-10 February, 2013. Retrieved December 19, 2013, from

Gresham, G. (2008). Mathematics anxiety and mathematics teacher efficacy in elementary pre-service teachers. Teaching Education, 19(3), 171-184. doi:10.1080/10476210802250133

Hannula, M. S. (2002). Attitude towards mathematics: Emotions, expectations and values. Educational studies in Mathematics, 49(1), 25-46. doi: 10.1023/A:1016048823497

Ignacio, N. G., Nieto, L. J. B., & Barona, E. G. (2006). The affective domain in mathematics learning. International Electronic Journal of Mathematics Education, 1(1), 16-32. Retrieved January 31, 2014, from

Isiksal, M., Curran, J. M., Koc, Y, & Askun, C. S. (2009). Mathematics anxiety and mathematical self-concept: Considerations in preparing elementary-school teachers. Social Behavior and Personality, 37(5), 631-644. DOI:10.2224/sbp.

Jung, E., Rhodes, D. M., & Vogt, W. P. (2006). Disposition assessment in teacher education: A framework and instrument for assessing technology disposition. The Teacher Educator, 41(4), 207-233. doi: 10.1080/08878730609555385

Katz, L. G. & Raths, J. D. (1985). Dispositions as goals for teacher education. Teaching & Teacher Education, 1(4), 301-307. doi: 10.1016/0742-051X(85)90018-6

Lappan, G. (1999). Fostering a good mathematical disposition. NCTM News Bulletin. Retrieved 20 January 2014 from

Leder, G., & Grootenboer, P. (2005). Affect and mathematics education. Mathematics Education Research Journal, 17(2), 1-8. Retrieved 31 January 2014 from

Lin, X., Schwartz, D. L., & Hatano, G. (2005). Toward teachers' adaptive metacognition. Educational Psychologist, 40(4), 245-255. doi: 10.1207/s15326985ep4004_6

McLeod, D. B. (1994). Research on affect and mathematics learning in the JRME: 1970 to the present. Journal for research in Mathematics Education, 25(6), 637-647. Retrieved January 31, 2014, from

Maxwell, K. (2001). Positive learning dispositions in mathematics. ACE papers, 11, 30-39. Retrieved 19 December 2013 from

Op’t Eynde, P., De Corte, E., & Verschaffel, L. (2006). “Accepting emotional complexity”: A socio-constructivist perspective on the role of emotions in the mathematics classroom. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 63(2), 193-207. doi: 10.1007/s10649-006-9034-4

Pajares, M. F. (1992). Teachers’ beliefs and educational research: Cleaning up a messy construct. Review of educational research, 62(3), 307-332. doi: 10.3102/00346543062003307

Philipp, R. A. (2007). Mathematics Teachers. Beliefs and Affect. In: F. K. Lester, Jr.(Ed.), Second Handbook of Research on Mathematics Teaching and Learning (257-315). Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Retrieved January 31, 2014, from,Beliefs%26Affect.pdf

Ritchart, R. (2002). Intellectual character: What it is, why it matters, and how to get it. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Retrieved January 21, 2014, from

Skott, J. (2009). Contexualising the notion of ‘belief enactment’. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 12, 27-49. doi: 10.1007/s10857-008-9093-9

Wilkins, J. L. M. (2000). Preparing for the 21st century: The status of quantitative literacy in the united states. School Science and Mathematics, 100(8), 405-418. Retrieved February 1, 2014, from

Wilkins, J. L. M. (2008). The relationship among elementary teachers’ content knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and practices. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 11, 139-164. doi: 10.1007/s10857-007-9068-2

Wilkins, J. L., & Brand, B. R. (2004). Change in preservice teachers' beliefs: An evaluation of a mathematics methods course. School Science and Mathematics, 104(5), 226-232. Retrieved February 1, 2014, from

Zan, R. & Di Martino, P. (2007). Attitude toward mathematics: overcoming the positive/negative dichotomy. The Montana Mathematics Enthusiast, 3, 157-168. Retrieved December 19, 2013, from