Early career primary teachers’ perceptions of the influences on their teaching of mathematics – a longitudinal study
thesisposted on 04.03.2020, 15:18 by Alison M. Godfrey
Newly qualified primary teachers in England enter a varied environment in terms of schools’ approaches to the learning and teaching of mathematics and provision for their ongoing learning and development as teachers of the subject. Previous research suggests that in addition to factors related to their school context, potential influences on their evolving practice relate to their beliefs about the learning and teaching of mathematics; their subject knowledge, emotions and attitudes towards mathematics, and their self-efficacy as teachers of the subject; and their proactivity in response to their own reflection on practice. This qualitative longitudinal study extends the existing literature by exploring these influences from the perspectives of teachers themselves. Eight pre-service primary teachers, with a range of mathematical backgrounds, are followed from the end of their teaching course through their first two years as qualified teachers, with detailed evidence gained from five interviews with each teacher. Key features of the methodology are the creative use of participant generated visual data collection techniques, including ‘influence maps’ which enabled participants to describe and present the interacting influences on them, and the innovative use of mind mapping to reduce and analyse the data whilst retaining its cohesiveness. Through their narratives, teachers’ perspectives on the personal and complex nature of these influences are highlighted and deeper insights are provided into how these interrelate, enabling an extended theoretical model to be presented. The research findings have implications for providers of initial teacher education as they seek to effectively prepare teachers of mathematics, or early career teachers and those seeking to support their further development, and for national policy makers as they consider future policy related to primary mathematics. It will also be of interest to the mathematics education research community in their continuing focus on teacher learning and development and other researchers using qualitative longitudinal approaches.