Epistemological beliefs concerning the nature of mathematics among teacher educators and teacher education students in mathematics

Abstract

Beliefs constitute a central part of a person’s professional competences as beliefs are crucial to the perception of situations and as they influence our choice of actions. The present article focuses on epistemological beliefs about the nature of mathematics among future teachers and their educators at university and post-university teacher-training institutions in Germany. The data reported are part of a larger sample originating from the MT21 study [supported by the National Science Foundation through a grant to W. S. Schmidt and M. T. Tatto (REC-0231886). MT21 started in 2003] which explores and compares mathematics teacher education in Bulgaria, Germany, Mexico, South Korea, Taiwan, and the United States. In this article, we examine the structure and level of beliefs concerning the nature of mathematics for teacher education students in Germany both at the beginning (n = 368) and the end of their education (n = 286) as well as their educators (n = 77) in three academic disciplines (mathematics, mathematics pedagogy and general pedagogy). In the first part of the article, the literature on epistemological beliefs and their structure will be reviewed. In the empirical part, analyses on the level and the structure of beliefs for our samples and subsamples will be presented. Relations between educators’ and students’ beliefs will be explored.

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