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Math Tutorials to Reduce Math Anxiety in Elementary Education Majors

Math Tutorials to Reduce Math Anxiety in Elementary Education Majors,Denise M. Reboli

Math Tutorials to Reduce Math Anxiety in Elementary Education Majors   (Citations: 1)
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Simon (1993) suggests that the conceptual weaknesses, which prospective teachers exhibit, are obstacles for these teachers to appropriately teach concepts and procedures to students. In addition, one of the sources of mathematics anxiety that future teachers cite is not feeling prepared or being knowledgeable enough in the mathematics that they may someday need to teach. As part of a number of interventions to reduce math anxiety among our elementary education majors (see Holodick & Reboli, SITE 2002), King's College has explored the various tutorials that are available on the Internet. This paper lists a number of the websites available and reviews their potential use in a mathematics methods classroom, particularly in light of the recommendations made by Taplin & James (1994). Last year I began teaching a mathematics methods course for elementary education majors. The emphasis was to be on the methods, not the content. As a college mathematics professor, I was familiar with the mathematics anxiety that my students displayed in the classroom with certain topics. I was also aware that my students would have a mixed mathematical background, but I wasn't always ready for the amount of content teaching I needed to do before we could discuss alternate ways of teaching certain topics or the errors that their students might make. In some ways, the class became a sample classroom with me modeling different strategies and developing activities to be sure my students understood the concepts they were to teach. For some topics (such as subtraction when renaming is involved), a quick review of the mathematics was sufficient, while other topics (like fractions) we needed to develop more completely, mathematically and pedagogically. As the semester progressed and we worked with technology more, a colleague and I started to think about developing a website for these students that gave them resources that they could use while still taking classes and continue to use when they were teaching similar topics. Our reasons for using technology are similar to those cited in Taplin & James (1994): allowing students to work on individualized topics at their own pace, immediate feedback, and the non-threatening nature of a computer. It became clearer to me that one of the things that I would like to see added to our website would be a listing of resources for understanding some of the topics they would be teaching…and a place where they might someday be able to send their own students for either remediation or enrichment.
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