Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation


Teacher Math Anxiety and Math Instructional Time Public Deposited

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  • The scientific way of knowing, which results in tremendous advancements in our society, heavily depends on the use of mathematics. Given that math touches nearly every aspect of peoples’ lives in different ways, it is critical that today’s students and tomorrow’s citizens have a solid understanding of math. Unfortunately, a sizeable percentage of the population experiences math anxiety, leading to math avoidance in different ways throughout their lives. Students often avoid taking higher-level math classes in high school. Once in college, many students avoid majors with higher math class requirements. Math avoidance can impact career paths. Those who do choose careers related to math can feel underprepared and can avoid math-related tasks within their jobs. For many people, the beginnings of their math anxiety can be traced back to their elementary school years. Math avoidance and math anxiety have a cyclical relationship. A large percentage of elementary school teachers have math anxiety themselves. Studies have shown that not only can teacher math anxiety negatively impact students’ math education but it can also contribute to the development of math anxiety in students. Given these facts, it is important to examine ways to reduce elementary teacher math anxiety. The current studies addressed a gap in the research by exploring the use of a brief intervention with teachers with above-average levels of math anxiety. The studies within this dissertation examined two questions: (a) “What is the impact of a brief expressive writing intervention on teacher math anxiety?” and (b) “What is the impact of a brief expressive writing intervention on the amount of math instructional time provided by teachers?” Each study examined a different early-career teacher group: preservice elementary teachers completing their student teaching and first-year elementary teachers. The method used for both studies was a single-subject, multiple-probe, concurrent multiple-baseline design. The independent variable was the brief expressive writing intervention, delivered over three 10-min sessions. The two dependent variables were the levels of teacher math anxiety and the number of minutes that teachers engage in math instruction. Each study had three participants. Visual analysis was used to examine trend, level, and stability; effect size was calculated using nonoverlap of all pairs (NAP). Results did not indicate a significant difference in either variable. Still, there were slight improvements in levels of math anxiety overall. Given the past positive results of studies utilizing an expressive writing intervention, along with the intervention’s ease of administration, it is important that future studies continue to explore the use of expressive writing as a potential way to positively impact teacher math anxiety and math instructional time.
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