Working Papers

    2013


  • Chen, J-Q., McCray, J.

     (2013). A survey study of early childhood teachers’ beliefs and confidence about teaching early math (Early Math Collaborative Working Paper No. 2013-2).

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    Abstract

    Although increased attention to early mathematics education is widespread, knowledge of what preschool teachers think about early math teaching and how confident they are in helping preschoolers learn math remains limited. To begin filling this information gap, we report on the results of the Early Mathematics Belief and Confidence Survey, a study involving 346 preschool teachers in a large public school system in the Midwest. The survey was designed to address three questions : (1) What do preschool teachers believe about teaching and learning math with preschoolers? (2) How confident are preschool teachers in helping preschoolers learn math? (3) How confident are preschool teachers about their own math abilities? The survey results depict a complex, yet promising, picture of early childhood teachers’ beliefs and confidence in early math teaching. We found a much more positive view of teachers’ beliefs and confidence in early math teaching than previously described in the literature. We also observed that level of teacher confidence varies with specific types of math knowledge and teaching abilities. We further detected the difference as well as the relationship between teachers’ confidence in their own math abilities and their confidence in teaching math to young children. The results have important implications for the design of professional development in early math.

  • McCray, J., Chen, J-Q.

     (2013). Focusing on the whole teacher in early math teacher professional development. (Early Math Collaborative Working Paper No. 2013-1).

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    Abstract

    In this paper, we introduce a conceptual framework for in-service professional development—the Whole Teacher approach, which attends simultaneously to the attitudes, knowledge, and practice of a teacher’s professional growth. Putting the framework in operation, we describe a project designed to improve teachers’ competence and increase children’s performance in early mathematics. Utilizing a quasi-experimental design, pre- and post-measures with intervention and comparison groups were collected. The results indicated that significant growth in children’s mathematical performance favored to the intervention group. The discussion focuses on the significance of the Whole Teacher approach to early math teacher professional development.