Elementary Student Teachers Practising Mathematical Enquiry at their Level: Experience and Affect
From the time of publication of Polya’s “How to Solve It” (1954), many researchers and policy makers in mathematics education have advocated an integration of more problem solving activities into the mathematics classroom. In contemporary mathematics education, this development is sometimes taken further, through programmes involving students in mathematics research projects. The activities promoted by some of these programmes differ from more traditional classroom activities, particularly with regards to the pedagogic aim. Several of the programmes which can claim to belong to this trend are designed to promote a less static view of the discipline of mathematics, and to encourage a stronger engagement in the community of practice that creates it. The question remains, however, about what such an experience can bring the students who engage in it, particularly given the de-emphasis on the acquisition of notional knowledge. In the study described in this thesis, I investigate possible experiential and affective outcomes of such a programme in the context of a mathematics course targeted at elementary student teachers. The study is composed of three main parts. Firstly, the theoretical foundations of the teaching approach are laid down, with the expressed purpose of creating a module that would embody these foundations. The teaching approach is applied in an elementary teacher education context and the experience of the participating students, as well as its affective outcomes, are examined both from the point of view of authenticity with respect to the exemplar experience, and for the expected–and unexpected–affective outcomes. Both of these examinations are based on the establishment of a theoretical framework which emerges from an investigation of mathematicians’ experience of their research work, as well as the literature on affective issues in mathematics education.
Mathematics education , Elementary school education , Mathematicians