Nature by Numbers

by Cristóbal VilaNature by Numbers from Cristóbal Vila on Vimeo.

I found this to be a really interesting video to watch. Teachers that have the time to post well thought out and presented instructional videos are truly remarkable. Many students benefit from being able to see a lesson again (or for the first time) in their own home. Parents, who are looking to help their kids with their homework can also view the video with their child and then guide them through their homework.

From the website: "Salman Khan talks about how and why he created the remarkable Khan Academy, a carefully structured series of educational videos offering complete curricula in math and, now, other subjects. He shows the power of interactive exercises, and calls for teachers to consider flipping the traditional classroom script -- give students video lectures to watch at home, and do "homework" in the classroom with the teacher available to help."

Why Use Children’s Literature in Mathematics?

¨To provide a context or model for an activity with mathematical content.

¨To introduce manipulatives that will be used in varied ways (not necessarily as in the story).

¨To inspire a creative mathematics experience for children.

¨To pose an interesting problem.

¨To prepare for a mathematics concept or skill.

¨To develop or explain a mathematics concept or skill.

¨To review a mathematics concept or skill.

Where do I find children’s literature relating to mathematics?

Mathematics can be found in children’s literature if you look for it. Your school board may have these resources for teachers to use already in their library. If not, there are plenty of places to look including your local library, colleagues or online bookstores.

**My other posts on Math Anxiety **

Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers: An Overview

Symptoms of Mathematics Anxiety

The Effects of Mathematics Anxiety

Why is Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers Worrisome?

Where Does Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers Stem From?

What Strategies Can Be Provided to Preservice Teachers to Decrease Mathematics Anxiety?

The Power of Positivity

Examining Learning Styles

Why Use Manipulatives?

Mathematics in Children's Literature

¨To provide a context or model for an activity with mathematical content.

¨To introduce manipulatives that will be used in varied ways (not necessarily as in the story).

¨To inspire a creative mathematics experience for children.

¨To pose an interesting problem.

¨To prepare for a mathematics concept or skill.

¨To develop or explain a mathematics concept or skill.

¨To review a mathematics concept or skill.

A study done by Ward (2005) states “a growing body of research in the fields of mathematics education and literacy supports the inclusion of children’s literature into the teaching and learning of mathematics” (p. 132). Using these books can grab the students’ attention while engaging them in a thoughtful story and math concept. It is a valuable tool to that “holds much promise for enriching the teaching and learning of mathematics” (Ward, 2005, p. 141).

Where do I find children’s literature relating to mathematics?

Mathematics can be found in children’s literature if you look for it. Your school board may have these resources for teachers to use already in their library. If not, there are plenty of places to look including your local library, colleagues or online bookstores.

Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers: An Overview

Symptoms of Mathematics Anxiety

The Effects of Mathematics Anxiety

Why is Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers Worrisome?

Where Does Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers Stem From?

What Strategies Can Be Provided to Preservice Teachers to Decrease Mathematics Anxiety?

The Power of Positivity

Examining Learning Styles

Why Use Manipulatives?

Mathematics in Children's Literature

Bowen, Donna (n.d.). *Math Picture Books and In Literature*. Retrieved June 19, 2009 from http://www.edselect.com/mathbooksbowen.htm.

Ward, R.A. (2005). Using Children’s Literature to Inspire K-8 Preservice Teachers’ Future Mathematics Pedagogy. *The Reading Teacher*, 59(2), 132-143. Retrieved May 26, 2009 from Platinum Periodicals database. (Document ID: 914815151).

Mathematics manipulatives are becoming increasingly important to provide elementary students with hands on learning. The results of Gresham’s study in October, 2007, revealed a decrease in mathematics anxiety after the preservice teachers had completed a mathematics methods course that involved using manipulatives and hands on approaches to teaching mathematics content. Manipulatives are available to aid students visually and kinaesthetically while making abstract concepts concrete. It has become accepted that manipulatives are an excellent way to make math real for students by utilizing concrete objects to solve problems or demonstrate abstract concepts.

¨Attribute blocks

¨Clocks

¨Fraction circles

¨Fraction squares

¨Geoboards & colored elastics

¨Large dice

¨Large geometric shapes

¨Pattern blocks

¨Tangrams

¨Connecting cuisenaire rods

¨Coins & paper money

¨Bean counters

¨Miras

¨Fruit Loops/ Cheerios / M & M’s

¨Calendar

¨Magnetic fraction 3D shapes

¨Number spinners

¨Plastic Base 10 blocks

¨Pocket chart with numbers 0 - 100

¨Small geometric shapes

¨Two sided counters

¨Unifix® cubes & accessories

¨Wooden blocks

¨Maps

¨Measuring Cups

¨Popsicle Sticks

¨Buttons

¨Balance scales & weights

¨Thermometers

...and more! ¨Clocks

¨Fraction circles

¨Fraction squares

¨Geoboards & colored elastics

¨Large dice

¨Large geometric shapes

¨Pattern blocks

¨Tangrams

¨Connecting cuisenaire rods

¨Coins & paper money

¨Bean counters

¨Miras

¨Fruit Loops/ Cheerios / M & M’s

¨Calendar

¨Magnetic fraction 3D shapes

¨Number spinners

¨Plastic Base 10 blocks

¨Pocket chart with numbers 0 - 100

¨Small geometric shapes

¨Two sided counters

¨Unifix® cubes & accessories

¨Wooden blocks

¨Maps

¨Measuring Cups

¨Popsicle Sticks

¨Buttons

¨Balance scales & weights

¨Thermometers

Some schools have an ample supply of manipulatives while others may not. It may be possible for teachers to share with a colleague or even create something of their own. Manipulatives found around the house such as fruit loops can be just as effective as expensive ones that are purchased.

Connecting Cubes

¨Patterning ¨Estimating and Measuring

¨Addition and Subtraction

¨Multiplying and Dividing

¨Volume

Primary students will love counting and making patterns with these blocks. Older students can use them to make groups while multiplying and dividing. In grade 6, students can make rectangular prisms with these connecting cubes and find their volume. Using manipulatives in groups is an effective method to motivate global learners and interest them in your lesson.

The National Library of Virtual Manipulatives

This is an excellent website to find free interactive games that children can use while exploring the use of manipulatives. Each game has a link to instructions and the standards which it applies to. This website will be a useful resource in the classroom.

Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers: An Overview

Symptoms of Mathematics Anxiety

The Effects of Mathematics Anxiety

Why is Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers Worrisome?

Where Does Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers Stem From?

What Strategies Can Be Provided to Preservice Teachers to Decrease Mathematics Anxiety?

The Power of Positivity

Examining Learning Styles

Why Use Manipulatives?

Mathematics in Children's Literature

Why relate math to the lives of your students?

¨Keeps their Interest

¨Increases motivation

¨Gives math meaning

¨Creates a fun learning environment

Use familiar items or topics that will engage your class

¨Coupons

¨Grocery Flyers

¨Restaurant Take Out Menus

¨IPods

¨Cell Phones

¨Keeps their Interest

¨Increases motivation

¨Gives math meaning

¨Creates a fun learning environment

Use familiar items or topics that will engage your class

¨Coupons

¨Grocery Flyers

¨Restaurant Take Out Menus

¨IPods

¨Cell Phones

Global vs Analytical Learners

While many of us are familiar with auditory, visual, and tactile learners, we will be concentrating on a different classification of learning styles called global and analytical learners and the reason for this is simple: Through research, it has been shown that global learners have higher levels of math anxiety than analytical learners (Gresham, December 2007).

Global learners can also be referred to as holistic. They like to look at the whole picture, work in groups and enjoy noise or music in the background while working. Analytical learners on the other hand like information to be presented in sequential steps. They prefer to work alone in a quiet atmosphere and enjoy step-by-step instructions. Instead of looking at the whole, like global learners, analytical learners like to look at each part individually.

Gresham (2007) has concluded that there is a link between global learners and math anxiety which will be included on slide 25. The problem global learners experience is that it takes them quite a while before they can see how the bits and pieces of information fit into the greater scheme of things. Without grasping the entire picture, the small bits of information seem senseless to them. They may struggle with new concepts, homework, and problem solving. Math textbooks are generally set up for analytical learners. They are set up in a sequential order, as are many lectures, lesson plans, syllabi, and math curricula. Being aware of learning styles and how they impact math anxiety can lead to a preservice teacher improving their effectiveness of the methods they use to teach mathematics in their classroom (Gresham, December 2007).

How to teach math to global learners

- Skim the chapter first
- Relate content to students’ lives
- Teach with humour and color
- Incorporate pictures and graphics
- Be patient
- Allow global learners extra time to synthesize and connect to the information.

What kind of learner are you?

Positivity is contagious but so is negativity. If students are being negative about mathematics, it will be easy for the teacher to fall into the negativity trap.

" Educators may need to take a more proactive role in encouraging students to become excited about math and see themselves as successful, confident, mathematical problem solvers."

Make positive thinking a habit

Get excited about math

Involve the class in fun math activities

Put up positive and interesting math pictures

Use positive words

Believe in yourself and in your students

**My other posts on Math Anxiety **

Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers: An Overview

Symptoms of Mathematics Anxiety

The Effects of Mathematics Anxiety

Why is Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers Worrisome?

Where Does Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers Stem From?

What Strategies Can Be Provided to Preservice Teachers to Decrease Mathematics Anxiety?

The Power of Positivity

Examining Learning Styles

Why Use Manipulatives?

Mathematics in Children's Literature

* *

Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers: An Overview

Symptoms of Mathematics Anxiety

The Effects of Mathematics Anxiety

Why is Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers Worrisome?

Where Does Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers Stem From?

What Strategies Can Be Provided to Preservice Teachers to Decrease Mathematics Anxiety?

The Power of Positivity

Examining Learning Styles

Why Use Manipulatives?

Mathematics in Children's Literature

W.V. Williams (1988) in paraphrase of a Chinese Proverb:

“ Tell me mathematics, and I will forget; show me mathematics and I may remember; involve me…and I will understand mathematics. If I understand mathematics, I will be less likely to have math anxiety. And if I become a teacher of mathematics, I can thus begin a cycle that will produce less math-anxious students for generations to come. ”

“ Tell me mathematics, and I will forget; show me mathematics and I may remember; involve me…and I will understand mathematics. If I understand mathematics, I will be less likely to have math anxiety. And if I become a teacher of mathematics, I can thus begin a cycle that will produce less math-anxious students for generations to come. ”

Mathematics anxiety in elementary school can have a detrimental effect on students’ academic achievements through high school and beyond. As many preservice teachers are aware, negative experiences in math in elementary school can produce lasting effects. Discouraged students may shy away from math in secondary school and beyond, affecting their course choices and career path. (Brady & Bowd, 2005).

Research has uncovered a negative relationship between a preservice teacher’s efficacy to teach math, and the mathematics anxiety they possess (Swars, Daane, & Giesen, 2006).

When students develop math anxiety due to the instruction methods of a math anxious teacher, the cycle of math anxiety has started. If this student decides to enter the teacher profession, they may bring math anxiety back into the classroom with them (Brady, P. & Bowd, A. ,2005).

After examining current research on mathematics anxiety, it is evident that there are many elementary preservice teachers experiencing such anxiety today. This is a prominent cause for concern because of the connection that has been shown to exist between high levels of mathematics anxiety and low levels of math teaching efficacy. It is important that preservice teachers are able to discuss and determine the root of their math anxiety so that they become aware of its prevalence and the effect it has on learning. Strategies must be provided to preservice teachers to reduce their math anxiety thus increasing their confidence in being able to teach math effectively.

**My other posts on Math Anxiety **

Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers: An Overview

Symptoms of Mathematics Anxiety

The Effects of Mathematics Anxiety

Why is Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers Worrisome?

Where Does Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers Stem From?

What Strategies Can Be Provided to Preservice Teachers to Decrease Mathematics Anxiety?

The Power of Positivity

Examining Learning Styles

Why Use Manipulatives?

Mathematics in Children's Literature

Research has uncovered a negative relationship between a preservice teacher’s efficacy to teach math, and the mathematics anxiety they possess (Swars, Daane, & Giesen, 2006).

When students develop math anxiety due to the instruction methods of a math anxious teacher, the cycle of math anxiety has started. If this student decides to enter the teacher profession, they may bring math anxiety back into the classroom with them (Brady, P. & Bowd, A. ,2005).

After examining current research on mathematics anxiety, it is evident that there are many elementary preservice teachers experiencing such anxiety today. This is a prominent cause for concern because of the connection that has been shown to exist between high levels of mathematics anxiety and low levels of math teaching efficacy. It is important that preservice teachers are able to discuss and determine the root of their math anxiety so that they become aware of its prevalence and the effect it has on learning. Strategies must be provided to preservice teachers to reduce their math anxiety thus increasing their confidence in being able to teach math effectively.

Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers: An Overview

Symptoms of Mathematics Anxiety

The Effects of Mathematics Anxiety

Why is Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers Worrisome?

Where Does Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers Stem From?

What Strategies Can Be Provided to Preservice Teachers to Decrease Mathematics Anxiety?

The Power of Positivity

Examining Learning Styles

Why Use Manipulatives?

Mathematics in Children's Literature

Brady, P. & Bowd, A. (2005). Mathematics Anxiety, Prior Experience and Confidence to Teach Mathematics among Pre-Service Education Students. *Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice*, 11(1), 37-46. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. EJ821336) Retrieved May 12, 2009, from Eric Database.

Swars, S.L., Daane, C.J., & Giesen, J. (2006). Mathematics Anxiety and Mathematics Teacher Efficacy: What is the Relationship in Elementary Preservice Teachers? *School Science and Mathematics*, 106(7), 306. Retrieved July 6, 2008, from Research Library database. (Document ID: 1305568341).

In a paraphrase of a Chinese proverb

¨Participation in a Mathematics Methods Course, workshops and professional development

¨Familiarization and Practice with Manipulatives

¨Familiarization With Curriculum Documents

¨Understanding of Learning Styles

¨Content Knowledge

¨Positive Teaching Experiences

¨Development of Confidence

¨Familiarization and Practice with Manipulatives

¨Familiarization With Curriculum Documents

¨Understanding of Learning Styles

¨Content Knowledge

¨Positive Teaching Experiences

¨Development of Confidence

Researchers agree that teacher educators need to examine math methods courses they teach to preservice elementary teachers so that they are able to provide them with strategies to teach math confidentially and effectively (Bryant, Moseley & Utley, 2005; Bursal et al., 2006; Gresham, October, 2007; Gresham, 2008; Liu, 2008; Swars et al., 2006; & Ward, 2005). Swars (2005) believes that positive experiences with math methods courses will lead to higher math teacher efficacy. Many researchers also agree that the root of math anxiety in preservice teachers should be discussed in methods courses. A study by Liu (2008) concluded that an online discussion with elementary preservice teachers about their mathematics anxiety played a major role in decreasing the amount of math anxiety they were experiencing.

Math methods courses should also be providing preservice teachers with experience using manipulatives. It would be incredibly beneficial for preservice teachers to experience the hands-on use of manipulatives and view demonstrations of their use in the classroom instead of just reading about these manipulatives in a book or seeing them in a catalogue. It would be most effective for teacher educators to utilize the very manipulatives they are discussing to instruct preservice teachers how to incorporate them in their lessons. The results of Gresham’s study in October, 2007, revealed a decrease in mathematics anxiety after the preservice teachers had completed a mathematics methods course that involved using manipulatives and hands on approaches to teaching mathematics content.

Manipulatives are not the only resource available to teachers in the classroom. Teacher educators should also be providing preservice teachers with examples of curriculum documents and how to use them. Documents such as texts, teacher guides, curriculum standards, and assessment resources must be utilized in methods courses to prepare preservice teachers for their use in the classroom. Preservice teachers cannot be expected to walk into a classroom without being familiar with these documents and automatically know how best to use them. Castro (2006) attests that if math methods courses “prepare preservice teachers to use curriculum materials; we are preparing them to become knowledgeable professionals that are part of a larger community of educators” (p. 22). Increasing a preservice teacher’s comfort with mathematics documents and curriculum guides will lessen the anxiety felt when faced with having to utilize them.

Gresham’s study in October, 2007 indicates that Jerome Bruner’s framework reduced math anxiety in preservice teachers when employed in methods courses. Bruner’s framework suggests that “learning is an active process in which learners construct new ideas of concepts based upon their current or past knowledge” (p. 182). The constructivist approach focuses on helping students develop learning and thinking strategies. Gresham (October, 2007) concludes that applying Bruner’s framework decreases math anxiety in preservice teachers by helping them learn how to best offer instruction involving the use of concrete materials or pictorial activities. An increase in knowledge about the way children learn will lead to an increase in preservice teachers’ confidence to teach math effectively, thereby decreasing their math anxiety.

Another strategy that will help preservice teachers become confident in teaching mathematics is being able to determine a student’s learning style and how to adapt a lesson accordingly. Gresham (December, 2007) explored global and analytic learning styles in a study of preservice elementary teachers and concluded that “as global orientation scores increased, mathematics anxiety scores increased as well” (p. 27). Being aware of learning styles and how they impact math anxiety can lead to a preservice teacher improving their effectiveness of the methods they use to teach mathematics in their classroom (Gresham, December 2007).

Providing preservice teachers with elementary mathematics content knowledge will also serve to decrease mathematics anxiety. The data collected in a study done by Swars, Smith, Smith and Hart (2008), indicates that as preservice teachers increase their understanding of mathematical content knowledge, they “become better able to understand and embrace more cognitively oriented pedagogical beliefs and become more confident in their skills and abilities to teach mathematics effectively” (p. 63). The Ontario Ministry of Education (2004) makes it clear that to teach math effectively, teachers need a strong knowledge of mathematical content and pedagogy and Schiano & Svendsen (2007), with the New York State Mathematics Initiative, agree that “by increasing the content knowledge and pedagogy of teachers, the level of student achievement in mathematics will improve” (p. 1). Whether it is through heightened entrance requirements in mathematics for the teacher education program or additional mathematics content courses during the teacher preparation program, avenues for this increase in mathematical content knowledge and pedagogy need to be explored so that preservice teachers are prepared to teach math in the classroom.

The teaching experience that preservice teachers have should also be examined to ensure that they are gaining the experience needed to reduce their math anxiety and become effective mathematics teachers. During their practicum, preservice teachers should be given the opportunity to observe an effective math teacher and gain the knowledge and understanding of the mathematics curriculum, content, and materials so that they are well prepared and confident to teach their own class. Swars et al. (2006) recognize that “mathematics methods courses should allow preservice teachers to have mastery experiences through actual mathematics teaching experiences as well as vicarious experiences of observing role models teach mathematics” (p. 313). The practicum experience is pivotal in learning how to teach math confidently utilizing all of the materials and resources available to them.

It is imperative that strategies are provided to elementary preservice teachers to decrease their mathematics anxiety. These strategies include: the discussion of math anxiety to determine its cause and effect; the exploration of useful and effective math manipulatives that can be used in the classroom; an overview of learning styles and how to plan lessons to accommodate them; the familiarization of math documents such as texts, guides and curriculum resources; and the participation in a practicum where they are able to observe and gain experience teaching mathematics in the classroom. It is important that teacher educators provide elementary preservice teachers with these strategies in order to reduce the math anxiety they are experiencing so that they may increase their math teaching efficacy.

**My other posts on Math Anxiety **

Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers: An Overview

Symptoms of Mathematics Anxiety

The Effects of Mathematics Anxiety

Why is Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers Worrisome?

Where Does Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers Stem From?

What Strategies Can Be Provided to Preservice Teachers to Decrease Mathematics Anxiety?

The Power of Positivity

Examining Learning Styles

Why Use Manipulatives?

Mathematics in Children's Literature

Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers: An Overview

Symptoms of Mathematics Anxiety

The Effects of Mathematics Anxiety

Why is Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers Worrisome?

Where Does Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers Stem From?

What Strategies Can Be Provided to Preservice Teachers to Decrease Mathematics Anxiety?

The Power of Positivity

Examining Learning Styles

Why Use Manipulatives?

Mathematics in Children's Literature

Bryant, R., Moseley, C., & Utley, J. (2005). Relationship Between Science and Mathematics Teaching Efficacy of Preservice Elementary Teachers. *School Science and Mathematics*, 105(2), 82-87. Retrieved May 26, 2009, from Platinum Periodicals database. (Document ID: 866548841).

Bursal, M., Paznokas, L. (2006). Mathematics Anxiety and Preservice Elementary Teachers' Confidence to Teach Mathematics and Science. *School Science and Mathematics*, 106(4), 173-180. Abstract retrieved July 8, 2008, from Research Library database. (Document ID: 1152027251).

Castro, A.M. (2006). Preparing Elementary Preservice Teachers to Use Mathematics Curriculum Materials. The Mathematics Educator, 16(2), 14-24. Retrieved May 19, 2009 from http://math.coe.uga.edu/tme/issues/v16n2/v16n2_castro.pdf.

Gresham, G. (2008). Mathematics Anxiety and Mathematics Teacher Efficacy in Elementary Pre-Service Teachers. *Teaching Education*, *19*(3), 171-184. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. EJ811912) Retrieved May 12, 2009, from ERIC database.

Gresham, G. (2007, December). An Invitation into the Investigation of the Relationship between Mathematics Anxiety and Learning Styles in Elementary Preservice Teachers. *Journal of Invitational Theory and Practice, *13, 24-33. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. EJ791538) Retrieved July 8, 2008, from Eric Database.

Gresham, G. (2007, October). Study of *Mathematics** **Anxiety* in Pre-Service Teachers. *Early Childhood Education Journal, *35(2),* *181*.* (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. EJ775797) Retrieved July 8, 2008, from Eric Database.

Liu, F. (2008). Impact of Online Discussion on Elementary Teacher Candidates’ Anxiety Towards Teaching Mathematics. *Education,* 128(4), 614-629. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. EJ816949) Retrieved February 16, 2009 from Eric Database.

Ontario Ministry of Education. (2004). *Teaching and Learning Mathematics – The Report of the Expert Panel on Mathematics in Grades 4 to 6 in Ontario*. Retrieved May 14, 2009, from http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/document/reports/numeracy/panel/numeracy.pdf.

Schiano, A., & Svendsen, J. (2007). *New York State Mathematics Initiative.* Retrieved May 14, 2009, from New York State Education Department http://www.emsc.nysed.gov/ciai/mst/minitiative.html.

Swars, S.L., Daane, C.J., & Giesen, J. (2006). Mathematics Anxiety and Mathematics Teacher Efficacy: What is the Relationship in Elementary Preservice Teachers? *School Science and Mathematics*, 106(7), 306. Retrieved July 6, 2008, from Research Library database. (Document ID: 1305568341).

Swars, S., Smith, S., Smith, M., & Hart, L. (2009, February 1). A Longitudinal Study of Effects of a Developmental Teacher Preparation Program on Elementary Prospective Teachers' Mathematics Beliefs. *Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education*, *12*(1), 47-66. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. EJ826882) Retrieved May 29, 2009, from ERIC database.

Swars, S.L. (2005). Examining Perceptions of *Mathematics* Teaching Effectiveness among *Elementary* Preservice Teachers with Differing Levels of *Mathematics* Teacher *Efficacy. **Journal of Instructional Psychology*,32(2), 139-147. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. EJ774152) Retrieved July 6, 2008 from Eric Database.

By Marianne Wesseling

Why do we need math?

How does it benefit us?

Some teachers believe they will be unable to teach math confidently which has a direct impact on the students they will be teaching (Brady & Bowd, 2005).

In order for students to succeed academically in math at the secondary and post secondary level, they must first have a strong foundation coming out of their elementary classrooms (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2004; U.S. Department of Education, 2006).

It is encouraging to see that preservice teachers suffering from math anxiety gain confidence in using manipulatives after being provided instruction on how to use them in their methods course. However, with manipulatives being a growing trend, it is worrisome that not all preservice teachers will be provided with this instruction and are entering elementary schools with fear and anxiety over the thought of implementing manipulatives in their lessons. It has become accepted that manipulatives are an excellent way to make math real for students by utilizing concrete objects to solve problems or demonstrate abstract concepts. Their usefulness however, will be negated if preservice teachers are unfamiliar with them and are anxious at the thought of implementing them in their lessons.

Math anxiety in preservice teachers becomes apparent when they fear having to instruct math in general. Through a study on preservice teachers suffering from math anxiety, Uusimaki et al. (2004), discovered that out of 18 participants, 48% felt most anxious when having to communicate their mathematical knowledge while 33% felt most anxious when faced with the fear of not being able to solve a problem correctly. Preservice teachers must have confidence in their abilities in elementary math. A study by Liu (2008), found a sizeable number of preservice teachers felt anxious about mathematics instruction because they lacked conceptual understanding of math. A lack of mathematics understanding and content knowledge will most likely lead to a fear of not only teaching ineffectively but incorrectly as well.

**My other posts on Math Anxiety **

Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers: An Overview

Symptoms of Mathematics Anxiety

The Effects of Mathematics Anxiety

Why is Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers Worrisome?

Where Does Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers Stem From?

What Strategies Can Be Provided to Preservice Teachers to Decrease Mathematics Anxiety?

The Power of Positivity

Examining Learning Styles

Why Use Manipulatives?

Mathematics in Children's Literature

Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers: An Overview

Symptoms of Mathematics Anxiety

The Effects of Mathematics Anxiety

Why is Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers Worrisome?

Where Does Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers Stem From?

What Strategies Can Be Provided to Preservice Teachers to Decrease Mathematics Anxiety?

The Power of Positivity

Examining Learning Styles

Why Use Manipulatives?

Mathematics in Children's Literature

Sources:

Brady, P. & Bowd, A. (2005). Mathematics Anxiety, Prior Experience and Confidence to Teach Mathematics among Pre-Service Education Students. *Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice*, 11(1), 37-46. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. EJ821336) Retrieved May 12, 2009, from Eric Database.

Bursal, M., Paznokas, L. (2006). Mathematics Anxiety and Preservice Elementary Teachers' Confidence to Teach Mathematics and Science. *School Science and Mathematics*, 106(4), 173-180. Abstract retrieved July 8, 2008, from Research Library database. (Document ID: 1152027251).

Cady, J. & Rearden, K. (2007). Pre-Service Teachers’ Beliefs about Knowledge, Mathematics, and Science. *School Science and Mathematics*, 107(6), 237. Retrieved May 27, 2009, from Platinum Periodicals database. (Document ID: 1517891781).

Gresham, G. (2008). Mathematics Anxiety and Mathematics Teacher Efficacy in Elementary Pre-Service Teachers. *Teaching Education*, *19*(3), 171-184. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. EJ811912) Retrieved May 12, 2009, from ERIC database.

Liu, F. (2008). Impact of Online Discussion on Elementary Teacher Candidates’ Anxiety Towards Teaching Mathematics. *Education,* 128(4), 614-629. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. EJ816949) Retrieved February 16, 2009 from Eric Database.

Ontario Ministry of Education. (2004). *Teaching and Learning Mathematics – The Report of the Expert Panel on Mathematics in Grades 4 to 6 in Ontario*. Retrieved May 14, 2009, from http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/document/reports/numeracy/panel/numeracy.pdf.

Swars, S.L., Daane, C.J., & Giesen, J. (2006). Mathematics Anxiety and Mathematics Teacher Efficacy: What is the Relationship in Elementary Preservice Teachers? *School Science and Mathematics*, 106(7), 306. Retrieved July 6, 2008, from Research Library database. (Document ID: 1305568341).

Swars, S.L. (2005). Examining Perceptions of *Mathematics* Teaching Effectiveness among *Elementary* Preservice Teachers with Differing Levels of *Mathematics* Teacher *Efficacy. **Journal of Instructional Psychology*,32(2), 139-147. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. EJ774152) Retrieved July 6, 2008 from Eric Database.

U.S. Department of Education. (2006). *Math Now: Advancing Math Education in Elementary and Middle School. *Retrieved May 14, 2009 from** **http://www.ed.gov/about/inits/ed/competitiveness/math-now.html**.**

Uusimaki, L., & Nason, R. (2004). Causes Underlying Pre-Service Teachers’ Negative Beliefs and Anxieties about Mathematics. * International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education*. (ERIC Document # ED489664) Retrieved January 5, 2009 from ERIC database.

By Marianne Wesseling

¨Past Negative Experiences

¨Content Knowledge

¨Methods of Instruction

¨Past Teachers

¨Embarrassing Experiences Personality Factors

¨Past Negative Experiences

¨Content Knowledge

¨Methods of Instruction

¨Past Teachers

¨Embarrassing Experiences Personality Factors

To reduce preservice teacher mathematics anxiety, the root of their apprehension towards math must first be examined. It is important that preservice teachers be encouraged to identify the root of their math anxiety in order to fully realize its cause and effects. Through research of perceptions of mathematics teaching among elementary preservice teachers, Swars (2005) concluded that “mathematics methods courses need to provide a self-awareness of past experiences with mathematics among preservice teachers, particularly negative experiences, in order to facilitate the building of mathematics teacher efficacy” (p. 145). In 2006, Swars et al. conducted a study concluding that this self-awareness of past experiences in mathematics would not only increase teaching efficacy, but would serve to reduce math anxiety in preservice teachers as well.

Through extensive research of mathematics anxiety, it becomes apparent that its root in elementary preservice teachers stems mostly from their past negative experiences in the elementary school (Brady, 2005; Cady & Rearden, 2007; Liu, 2008; Perry, 2004; Swars et al., 2006; and Uusimaki & Nason, 2004). Though there is a general consensus that math anxiety stems from elementary school, it is important that the particular elements that caused this fear and negativity towards math be identified. The root of mathematics anxiety in preservice teachers will be examined and categorized by the following: mathematical content, instruction, and personality factors.

Some preservice teachers have identified teaching methods that were implemented in their elementary classrooms as being the root of their math anxiety. Research done by Swars et al. (2006), implicated that timed tests, pop quizzes and other forms of assessment that focus on a memorization of procedural knowledge contributed to a preservice teacher’s math anxiety. It is not uncommon for teachers to concentrate on teaching basic skills and on how to solve a problem rather than on conceptual understanding and why we are able to apply different formulas to solve a problem. In order for a preservice teacher to be able to share this conceptual understanding, they must have the training and confidence in themselves and in their knowledge of mathematics.

In a study done by Uusimaki and Nason (2004), half of their participants who were preservice teachers suffering from mathematics anxiety “specifically identified primary school teachers for their learned dislike and fear of mathematics” (p. 373). Teachers drawing attention to student errors, being impatient when having to assist struggling students and displaying gender biases can be detrimental to a student and cause lasting math anxiety (Brady & Bowd, 2005). Teachers with mathematics anxiety tend to use more traditional teaching methods involving whole class instruction and seatwork rather then individualized instruction, problem solving, and games to make math learning fun and interesting (Swars et al., 2006). Many of these teachers may be unaware of the math anxiety they possess and the probability that this will be passed onto their students. Brady & Bowd (2005) have described math anxiety as a cycle because of the fact that math anxiety is passed from teacher to student who then becomes a preservice teacher and brings it back into the classroom to new students.

It is not unlikely to have students in the classroom who are afraid or embarrassed to ask questions when struggling in any subject. Gresham (2008), concluded that some preservice teachers experiencing math anxiety “felt isolated with their learning and experienced embarrassment with the learning of mathematics when help from instructors or others was needed” (p. 181). Shyness and intimidation are powerful factors contributing to the “I can’t do it!” mindset that a number of preservice teachers exhibited as students at the elementary level. These past negative feelings can be overwhelming for preservice teachers and can increase their level of mathematic anxiety.

Another personality factor that can have an effect on math anxiety is the preconceived notion that mathematics is a male domain. The vast majority of elementary preservice teachers are female and harboring these thoughts can affect the levels of their math anxiety. Through a study of preservice elementary teachers, it was found that females exhibit higher levels of mathematics anxiety than males in secondary school and in college (Malinsky, McJunkin, Pannells & Ross, 2006). The need for gender equality in exhibiting confidence in mathematics is apparent.

It is clear that the root of mathematic anxiety in preservice teachers stems from past negative experiences in math in the elementary school. Whether it originated from difficulties with math content, instruction, teachers themselves, or from their own personality factors, it is imperative that preservice teachers take a good look at root of their math anxiety so that they may take steps to overcome it and learn from it. Without this self reflection, preservice teachers unknowingly run the risk of bringing mathematics anxiety into the classroom which is a cause for alarm because of the clear connection that high levels of math anxiety has with low levels of math teaching efficacy.

**My other posts on Math Anxiety **

Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers: An Overview

Symptoms of Mathematics Anxiety

The Effects of Mathematics Anxiety

Why is Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers Worrisome?

Where Does Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers Stem From?

What Strategies Can Be Provided to Preservice Teachers to Decrease Mathematics Anxiety?

The Power of Positivity

Examining Learning Styles

Why Use Manipulatives?

Mathematics in Children's Literature

**Sources: **

Swars, S.L., Daane, C.J., & Giesen, J. (2006). Mathematics Anxiety and Mathematics Teacher Efficacy: What is the Relationship in Elementary Preservice Teachers? *School Science and Mathematics*, 106(7), 306. Retrieved July 6, 2008, from Research Library database. (Document ID: 1305568341).

Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers: An Overview

Symptoms of Mathematics Anxiety

The Effects of Mathematics Anxiety

Why is Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers Worrisome?

Where Does Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers Stem From?

What Strategies Can Be Provided to Preservice Teachers to Decrease Mathematics Anxiety?

The Power of Positivity

Examining Learning Styles

Why Use Manipulatives?

Mathematics in Children's Literature

Brady, P. & Bowd, A. (2005). Mathematics Anxiety, Prior Experience and Confidence to Teach Mathematics among Pre-Service Education Students. *Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice*, 11(1), 37-46. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. EJ821336) Retrieved May 12, 2009, from Eric Database.

Cady, J. & Rearden, K. (2007). Pre-Service Teachers’ Beliefs about Knowledge, Mathematics, and Science. *School Science and Mathematics*, 107(6), 237. Retrieved May 27, 2009, from Platinum Periodicals database. (Document ID: 1517891781).

Gresham, G. (2008). Mathematics Anxiety and Mathematics Teacher Efficacy in Elementary Pre-Service Teachers. *Teaching Education*, *19*(3), 171-184. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. EJ811912) Retrieved May 12, 2009, from ERIC database.

Hopper, P.F., Jones, B. R., & Pomykal Franz, D. (2008). Mathematics: A Second Language. The Mathematics Teacher, 102(4), 307. Retrieved May 10, 2009, from Platinum Periodicals database. (Document ID: 1597070691).

Liu, F. (2008). Impact of Online Discussion on Elementary Teacher Candidates’ Anxiety Towards Teaching Mathematics. *Education,* 128(4), 614-629. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. EJ816949) Retrieved February 16, 2009 from Eric Database.

Malinsky, M., McJunkin, M., Ross, A., & Pannells, T. (2006). Math anxiety in pre-service elementary school teachers. *Education, *127(2),* *274*.* (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. EJ765826) Retrieved July 28, 2008, from Eric Database.* *

Perry, A. (2004). Decreasing Math *Anxiety* in College Students. *College Student Journal*, 38(2), 321. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. EJ704967) Retrieved July 8, 2008, from Eric Database.

Swars, S.L. (2005). Examining Perceptions of *Mathematics* Teaching Effectiveness among *Elementary* Preservice Teachers with Differing Levels of *Mathematics* Teacher *Efficacy. **Journal of Instructional Psychology*,32(2), 139-147. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. EJ774152) Retrieved July 6, 2008 from Eric Database.

Uusimaki, L., & Nason, R. (2004). Causes Underlying Pre-Service Teachers’ Negative Beliefs and Anxieties about Mathematics. * International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education*. (ERIC Document # ED489664) Retrieved January 5, 2009 from ERIC database.

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