Mathematics for Initial Teacher Education Students (MITES): Developing self-efficacy and competence in Mathematics and teaching Mathematics

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There are a number of reasons why initial teacher education students in the early childhood and primary fields may lack confidence and competence in mathematical problem-solving when they arrive at university. Despite their levels of achievement in high school mathematics, it is usually some time since initial teacher education students were directly involved in solving mathematical problems at the early childhood or primary levels and this distance can impact on students' levels of competence and self-efficacy in relation to solving mathematical problems and teaching at these lower levels. It is disturbing, however, that Brady and Bowd (2005) found that teachers who lack confidence in teaching mathematics often site not just lack of knowledge but negative experiences in their own mathematics education for their anxieties. It was also found that teachers who are anxious about teaching mathematics have the potential to pass on their anxieties to their own students. The needs of initial teacher education students, therefore, can range from those needing to revisit mathematical concepts briefly to re-familiarise themselves with those concepts to those needing to learn or re-learn material that was once the centre of negative and anxious experiences in their own mathematics education. This paper will provide the theoretical framework on self-efficacy and its measurement, drawing on the seminal work of Bandura (1986) and more recent research in the area of mathematics, after describing the background of the Mathematics for Initial Teacher Education Students (MITES) project. How self-efficacy is assessed in the project (Moriarty, 2008) and the impact of an intervention on students' levels of self-efficacy with regard to solving mathematics problems and teaching others to solve problems will be discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationValuing Teacher Education
Subtitle of host publicationPolicy, perspectives and partnerships
Place of PublicationAustralia
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventAustralian Teacher Education Association Conference - Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 03 Jul 201106 Jul 2011


ConferenceAustralian Teacher Education Association Conference


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