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A New Look at Secondary Teachers' Conceptions of Mathematics and Its Teaching

Paul Andrews and Gillian Hatch
British Educational Research Journal
Vol. 25, No. 2 (Apr., 1999), pp. 203-223
Published by: Wiley on behalf of BERA
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1501633
Page Count: 21
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A New Look at Secondary Teachers' Conceptions of Mathematics and Its Teaching
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Abstract

This article describes a statistical study of secondary teachers' conceptions of, and beliefs about, mathematics and its teaching. A questionnaire was developed from the extant literature and distributed to all teachers of mathematics in 200 secondary schools drawn from three regions of England. A factor analysis of 577 responses identified five conceptions of mathematics and five of mathematics teaching. Correlations indicated that teachers tend to possess simultaneously disparate conceptions of both mathematics and its teaching although, for most, there are dominant conceptions of mathematics manifested in (largely) commensurate beliefs about teaching. It is argued that the simultaneous possession of diverse conceptions may be a consequence of cultural and curricular ambiguities in respect of mathematics teaching in England. Some implications in respect of teachers being able to fulfil English National Curriculum requirements are discussed.

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