Advertisement

Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 91–102 | Cite as

Viewing Mathematics Teachers’ Beliefs as Sensible Systems*

  • Keith R. Leatham
Article

Abstract

This article discusses theoretical assumptions either explicitly stated or implied in research on teachers’ beliefs. Such research often assumes teachers can easily articulate their beliefs and that there is a one-to-one correspondence between what teachers state and what researchers think those statements mean. Research conducted under this paradigm often reports inconsistencies between teachers’ beliefs and their actions. This article describes an alternative framework for conceptualizing teachers’ beliefs that views teachers as inherently sensible rather than inconsistent beings. Instead of viewing teachers’ beliefs as inconsistent, teachers’ abilities to articulate their beliefs as well as researchers’ interpretations of those beliefs are seen as problematic. Implications of such a view for research on teacher beliefs as well as for the practice of mathematics teacher education are discussed.

Key words

belief systems teacher beliefs teacher education theoretical frameworks 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Brouseau B. A., Freeman D. J. (1988). How do teacher education faculty members define desirable teacher beliefs? Teaching & Teacher Education 4:267–273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cooney T. J. (1985). A beginning teacher’s view of problem solving. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education 16:324–336CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Furinghetti F., Pehkonen E. (2002). Rethinking characterizations of beliefs. In: Leder G. C., Pehkonen E., Törner G. (eds), Beliefs: A hidden variable in mathematics education? Vol. 31. Dordrecht The Netherlands, Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 39–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Green T. F. (1971). The activities of teaching. McGraw-Hill, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  5. Jaworski B. (1994). Investigating mathematics teaching: A constructivist enquiry. Falmer Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  6. Kagan D. M. (1992). Implications of research on teacher belief. Educational Psychologist 27(1):65–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Leatham K. R. (2002). Preservice secondary mathematics teachers’ beliefs about teaching with technology. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, University of Georgia, Athens, GAGoogle Scholar
  8. Leder G. C., Pehkonen E., Törner G. (eds.), (2002). Beliefs: A hidden variable in mathematics education? (Vol. 31). Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht The NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  9. Lloyd G. M., Wilson M. (1998). Supporting innovation: The impact of a teacher’s conceptions of functions on his implementation of a reform curriculum. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education 29:248–274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Merriam-webster online dictionary. (2005). Retrieved February 15, 2005, from www.m-w.com/.Google Scholar
  11. Pajares M. F. (1992). Teachers’ beliefs and educational research: Cleaning up a messy construct. Review of Educational Research 62:307–332CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Pehkonen, E. & Furinghetti, F. (2001). An attempt to clarify definitions of the basic concepts: Belief, conception, knowledge. In R. Speiser, C. A. Maher & C. N. Walter (Eds.), Proceedings of the Twenty-Third Annual Meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (Vol. 2, pp. 647–655). Columbus, OH: ERIC Clearinghouse for Science, Mathematics, and Environmental Education.Google Scholar
  13. Pintrich P. R. (2002). Future challenges and directions for theory and research on personal epistemology. In: Hofer B. K., Pintrich P. R. (eds.), Personal epistemology: The psychology of beliefs about knowledge and knowing. Lawrence Erlbaum, Mahwah, NJ, pp. 389–414Google Scholar
  14. Raymond A. M. (1997). Inconsistency between a beginning elementary school teacher’s mathematics beliefs and teaching practice. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education 28:550–576CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Rokeach M. (1968). Beliefs, attitudes, and values: A theory of organization and change. Jossey-Bass, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  16. Skott J. (2001a). The emerging practices of a novice teacher: The roles of his school mathematics images. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education 4:3–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Skott, J. (2001b, June). Why belief research raises the right question but provides the wrong type of answer. Paper presented at the 3rd Nordic Conference on Mathematics Education, Kristianstad, Sweden.Google Scholar
  18. Sztajn P. (2003). Adapting reform ideas in different mathematics classrooms: Beliefs beyond mathematics. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education 6:53–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Thagard P. (2000). Coherence in thought and action. MIT Press, Cambridge MAGoogle Scholar
  20. Thompson A. G. (1992). Teachers’ beliefs and conceptions: A synthesis of the research. In: Grouws D. A. (ed.), Handbook of research on mathematics teaching and learning. Macmillan, New York, pp. 127–146Google Scholar
  21. Wilson M., Cooney T. J. (2002). Mathematics teacher change and development. In: Leder G. C., Pehkonen E., Törner G. (eds), Beliefs: A hidden variable in mathematics education? Vol. 31. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, pp. 127–147CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mathematics EducationBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA

Personalised recommendations