A Case Study of Novice Teachers' Mathematics Problem Solving Beliefs and Perceptions




Baker, Courtney Katharine

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The problem solving standards of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM) (NGACBP & CCSSO, 2010) and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) (2000) are at times foreign to pre-service teachers who previously experienced algorithm-emphasized instruction. Once in their own classrooms, these individuals face an ongoing struggle between implementing what they have learned and resorting to their past experiences. The purpose of this study was to explore the problem solving beliefs and perceptions of two novice teachers, Elizabeth and Kerri, in a TFA cohort. A descriptive case study approach is used to identify the influences of academic and personal backgrounds, the elementary mathematics methods course, and the CCSSM on their beliefs and perceptions of problem solving. Findings indicate that previous experiences shaped many of Elizabeth and Kerri's problem solving beliefs and perceptions. However, the way each interpreted the CCSSM greatly influenced the manner in which they perceived their ability to incorporate problem solving into their instruction. Additionally, the use of purposeful planning of the standards of mathematical practice (NGACBP & CCSSO, 2010) influenced the perceived success of teaching elementary mathematics through problem solving. In light of these findings, implications include the need to align the content of elementary mathematics methods courses with professional development opportunities offered for in-service teachers.



Mathematics education, Teacher education, Beliefs, Common Core State Standards of Mathematics, Mathematics education, Novice teachers, Problem solving, Teacher education