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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 cylindrical figure by giving direct instructions, and provided her own explanations using the figure that students formed. Teaching methods used by pre-service teachers The following methods were used to enable students to learn subjects predetermined by the PTs: Expository teaching (N=13 PTs), question and answer (N=13), summarizing the subject and solving sample questions (N= 8) and then having students solve problems on the whiteboard (N= 4) , enabling students to comprehend the operation through long explanations (N=2), relating subjects to everyday life at a limited level (N=5), offering explanations using concrete materials (N=3), asking questions to the entire class and receiving answers from some students (N=11), explaining the reasons for an applied operation using a rote-learning approach (N=2), loudly repeating the correct answer after a wrong answer is given by students (N=1), and explaining the solution of a problem by demonstrating it on the whiteboard when students fail to find it (N=2). These findings show that the methods and techniques implemented by PTs are more suited to the teacher-focused approach. Some PTs directed their students to do rote-learning, rather than encouraging them to make real sense of the subject, either by making a student repeat the answer given by another one or loudly emphasizing the correct answer when an incorrect answer was given. Findings from the Interviews In this section, we presented the themes emerged by the analysis of the data regarding interviews, using the tables. The numbers (n) represent the number of the themes used in whole sample rather than the participants. PTs opinions that reflect their epistemological beliefs The participants were first asked questions related to knowledge and learning in order to get a general sense of their epistemological beliefs. The themes that emerged from the PTs’ responses to these questions are shown in Table 2. As we can see, PTs’ opinions regarding knowledge and learning generally bear traces of the constructivist approach: I mean, knowledge is something subjective. What you have as knowledge may not be knowledge for someone else. It is like something you feed and grow inside through your own experiences. (PT 8) I think knowledge is binding someone’s experiences together with ideas. (PT12) Main Themes Sub-Themes n Knowledge Knowledge emerges as a result of my own experiences 2 Knowledge develops in the social environment through interactions 2 Knowledge is subjective 1 Knowledge is the integration of experiences with ideas in mind 1 Vol 39, 10, September 2014 119

Australian Journal of Teacher Education There should be a need for knowledge in order to be able to acquire it 2 Knowledge emerges after solving a problem 1 Learning is a process that requires experience 3 Learning is the binding of information with mental ties 3 Learning Learning is individual, although others also play a role in it 2 Learning is the meaningful encoding of knowledge in the mind 2 I learn through meaningful explanations 1 Table 2: Opinions on Knowledge, Learning and How They Occur PTs’ opinions on the tenets of Turkish elementary math curriculum In this section, we scrutinized the PTs’ opinions on the tenets of Turkish elementary math curriculum. In addition, as a first question, we asked PTs to express their views regarding the components of efficient math education. The themes derived from these opinions and the distribution of sub-themes across tenets are presented in Table 3. First, PTs’ opinions on the best learning environment for effective math education were obtained. Nearly all the PTs expressed ideas in line with the requirements of the constructivist approach: Students should take part in the process. Students should be able to make sense of the subject in their minds. Rote-learning should be prevented by concretizing abstract concepts. The classroom environment should be organized to enable students to ask questions. Teaching should be tailored to the needs of individuals. Activities and materials should be used, and students’ preparedness should be seen as important. Main Themes Sub-Themes n The first idea that comes to mind for effective math education Main Tenets Students’ physical and mental activeness, learning by experiencing Teacher’s role Experiential learning View of cooperative learning Constructivist 13 Constructivist 10 Traditional 2 I know theoretically 1 Guidance, not being the center of 13 attention Suitable suggestion 8 Not in a math class 1 Positive 8 Negative 1 The development of communication skills Suitable suggestion 10 Table 3: Opinions on what is Necessary for Successfully Executing Math Teaching. Asked what should be done to enable students to be mentally and physically active and to learn by experiencing in math classes the majority of the PTs presented suggestions based on the constructivist approach: There should be activities involving students. Lessons should be taught in relation to real life. Students should interact with materials. Students Vol 39, 10, September 2014 120

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