, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 393–407 | Cite as

Impacting prospective teachers’ beliefs about mathematics

  • Leah N. Shilling-Traina
  • Gabriel J. Stylianides
Original Article


This study investigated: (1) the changes in the beliefs about mathematics held by 25 prospective elementary teachers as they went through a university mathematics course that aimed, among other things, to promote a problem-solving view about mathematics; and (2) the possible factors that accounted for the observed changes. The course incorporated specific features that prior research suggested reflect successful mechanisms for belief change (e.g., cognitive conflict). The data included students’ reflections, and responses to prompts and interview questions. Analysis of the data revealed the following major trends: (1) a movement towards a problem-solving view from the more traditional Platonist and instrumentalist views; and (2) no change in students’ initial views. Activities creating cognitive conflict, as well as the implementation of instruction valuing group collaboration and explanations, appear to have played important roles in the process of belief change. The findings have implications for research on teacher beliefs and teacher education.


Prospective Teacher Teacher Education Program Mathematics Task Solution Path Belief Change 
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Copyright information

© FIZ Karlsruhe 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leah N. Shilling-Traina
    • 1
  • Gabriel J. Stylianides
    • 2
  1. 1.Longwood UniversityFarmvilleUSA
  2. 2.University of OxfordOxfordUK

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