# A Comparison of Preservice Teachers' Mathematics Anxiety Before and After a Methods Class Emphasizing Manipulatives

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## Abstract

The changes in levels of mathematics anxiety among future teachers in two different mathematics materials and methods classes were investigated. The changes were a function of using: (a) Bruner's framework of developing conceptual knowledge before procedural knowledge, and (b) manipulatives to make mathematics concepts more concrete. The sample included 87 preservice teachers enrolled in mathematics methods courses. Two strategies were used to gather data both at the beginning and ending of each quarter. First, future teachers completed 98-item, Likert-type questionnaires. Second, some of the factors that influence the levels of mathematics anxiety were determined through the use of questionnaire-guided narrative interviews. Multivariate analysis of variance was employed as the quantitative measure for comparing mathematics anxiety both at the beginning and ending of the quarter. Data revealed a statistically significant reduction of mathematics anxiety levels (p < .05). Tukey's HSD was used to determine that a significant difference in mathematics anxiety levels occurred between the classes in the fall and winter quarters. Results of the study have implications for teacher education programs concerning the measurement of mathematics anxiety levels among future teachers and the determination of specific contexts in which that anxiety can be interpreted and reduced.

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