Perceptions, beliefs, and attitudes of elementary educators towards the integration of literature in mathematics: Case studies

Date

2007-05

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Texas Tech University

Abstract

Traditional mathematics teaching is still the norm in our nation’s schools, and, for most students, these programs create and perpetuate feelings of senselessness, while reform-oriented mathematics curricula are built upon constructivist perspectives aimed at assisting students in utilizing their own unique backgrounds and prior knowledge to build and develop a personal understanding of mathematics situations. Because teachers are crucial decision makers with regard to classroom curricula, they play a central role in the implementation and effectiveness of mathematics reforms. However, there often exists an incompatibility between the teacher's mathematical beliefs and practices and the beliefs underlying reform-oriented practices.

The purpose of this study is to explore the perceptions, beliefs, and attitudes of elementary classroom teachers towards the integration of literature in mathematics as well as the factors which influence those views. Literature integration is considered a constructivist, reform-oriented mathematical practice, and, therefore, to accomplish this purpose, it was necessary to establish elementary teachers' expressed and exhibited degrees of reform orientation and efficaciousness as well as the relationship between these factors and the integration of mathematics literature.

The study incorporates a qualitative, case study approach as the naturalist paradigm allows the researcher to garner information regarding teachers' lived classroom experiences and the ways and means by which the experiences have led to the educators' constructed reality. Four elementary classroom educators participated in a series of three interviews and three classroom observations, and student mathematics products, classroom photographs, participant lesson plans, and lists of children's literature served as venues to glean information relevant to the study's questions and purpose.

Findings emerged through an open coding process and underscored the importance of reformative orientations. Perspicacity exposed educators' beliefs and understandings of mathematics reform as affecting their abilities to overcome reformative barriers, feelings of mathematics efficaciousness, incorporations of reformative measures and efficacy behaviors, and, subsequently, perspectives relevant to mathematics literature integration. As findings accentuate, the impact of reformation is broad and deep, yet to delve the intricacies of reform is to provide the fuel to propel reformative mathematics classrooms from desire to reality.

Description

Keywords

Literature integration, Instruction, Mathematics, Ref

Citation