1 year ago

The Educational Approaches of Turkish Pre-Service Elementary Mathematics Teachers in Their First Teaching EJ1041869

  • Text
  • Approaches
  • Constructivist
  • Beliefs
  • Mathematics
  • Educational
  • Opinions
  • Classroom
  • Practices
  • Elementary
  • Australian
  • Turkish

Australian Journal

Australian Journal of Teacher Education Table 5 shows that the majority of the PTs state that they tended to use traditional approaches, because they wanted to prepare their students for the test that they would take after eighth grade. These PTs stated that using new approaches would not leave enough time for problem solving, would not improve students’ multiple-choice test skills, and that parents and school administrations expect teachers to prepare students for these tests. Some relevant comments are presented after table. Main Theme Sub-Themes n Influences that lead to a preference for traditional approaches 8 Implementing new approaches leads to success in Concerns about 5 exams Exam Preparation New approaches prepare students for exams, but 2 additional test practice is needed This does not affect my preference 1 Table 5: Opinions on the Examination System Making Traditional Approaches Preferable for Teaching Practice We have an exam-centered system. I do not think parents care much about their kids’ active participation in the process. They are concerned more about, say, how many math questions are on the test and how many of them their child can solve. The higher students score on those exams, the better they know math, parents think. This cannot be accomplished if they do not work on solving test questions. In other words, grasping only the logic of math is not enough. (PT 3) The system forces teachers to do this. Okay, you will teach children something there, but it’s not going to be enough, because they are required to learn a lot of things and to be able to solve all those different questions on the test. (PT 12) PTs who think that the existing examination system leads teachers to use traditional methods said that it is possible to prepare students to exams using new approaches; however, additional study oriented towards the exams may still be needed: Well, since we have this examination system, we have to prepare students the traditional way. The system forces you into it, since everyone evaluates their success in terms of their scores. But still, I think that students would not struggle in those exams if you use other approaches successfully. You can give additional lectures or give them assignments, if necessary. (PT 10) On the other hand, five pre-service teachers stated that students who are used to rotelearning and traditional approaches would struggle when they encounter a new problem situation, and that practices based on new approaches would lead to exam success since they enable students to learn by discovering and understanding: When using new approaches, knowledge can remain in the student’s mind for a lifetime as a foundation. In these new approaches, you talk about something as the teacher, and then students construct a lot of other things on that foundation. This way they can succeed on exams, too. (PT 8) One of the PTs said that concerns about preparing students for exams would not lead him to use traditional approaches: Every single teacher says that there is not enough time, the curriculum is very difficult, there are exams to prepare for, etc. I am not sure if I will be able to do it, but you know every teacher has a dream at the beginning: I want to prepare my students for exams, but at the same time I want them to enhance themselves, not only in math, but also in other Vol 39, 10, September 2014 123

Australian Journal of Teacher Education fields. I want my students to succeed in other areas, I do not want to just lecture all the time and have them solve problems. That’s why this would not affect me. (PT 4) The PTs’ opinions about inadequate experience with constructivist approaches leading them to either hesitate to use them or gravitate towards traditional methods were also recorded. Following excerpt displays this reasoning line. In addition, Table 6 shows that the majority of the PTs think that their lack of experience makes them gravitate towards using traditional approaches: As I said, I was totally inexperienced in the management of a constructivist classroom, because I am not so well trained in this aspect. When a child says something, I do not really know how to react. This is why I did not take that risk, since I would not be able to establish authority. Otherwise, children would be too involved in the process. When this happens, first of all, you may lose your authority. I mean, this is a danger for the teacher. Second, they can ask questions that you cannot answer. (PT 2) Main Theme Sub-Themes n Inexperience in Implementing Constructivist Approaches My inexperience leads me to use traditional approaches 5 The fear of losing control over the classroom due to my inexperience prevents me from implementing new approaches It is not related to inexperience 2 1 Table 6: Opinions on the Impact of Inexperience in Tending towards Traditional Approaches Some PTs expressed the opinion that inexperience does not cause a tendency towards using traditional approaches: I would not feel too inexperienced since I took a course at the university, but there may be other teachers who are not experienced in this. We implemented it here at the university. We did it, not in a real classroom, but in our own classroom. Yet, we learned how to teach subjects through activities. A real classroom can allows for more activities. If I had my own class, I would do everything better, because I would know my students. (PT 13) Main Theme Sub-Themes n The styles of teachers in the practice school lead us to choose traditional approaches 9 Teaching Environment in the Practice School The physical environment leads us to choose traditional approaches Teachers in the practice school have negative opinions of the new approaches 1 3 I would not be affected by the dominant approach in the school 3 Table 7: The Impact of School Environments on the Tendency to Use Traditional Approaches for Teaching Practice The PTs observed classes as part of the School Experience course before the TP term. Therefore, PTs’ views of the teaching environments in the schools where they do TP could affect their choice of teaching approaches, and for this reason their opinions on this were solicited. As Table 7 shows, the majority of the PTs believe that they were affected by the Vol 39, 10, September 2014 124

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