Teacher Education

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Sage Publications


Mathematics educators agree elementary teachers should possess confidence and competence in teaching mathematics. Many prospective elementary teachers (particularly women) pursue careers in elementary teaching despite personal repeated experiences of mathematics anxiety. Previous studies of mathematics anxiety have tended to focus on physical sensations that occur during test-taking situations. This study analyzes how three women prospective elementary teachers described, explained, and related their experiences of mathematics anxiety while learning mathematics as K-12 students and while learning to teach mathematics. My research reveals that mathematics anxiety may reach beyond assessment situations and impact women prospective elementary teachers’ larger mathematical histories. I show how women prospective elementary teachers may interpret mathematics anxiety as specific fears (e.g., loss of social belonging, loss of personal identity, or loss of practical competency) and how specific coping strategies may be invented to cope with the fear. I present evidence of how coping strategies may impede mathematics learning.

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