Secondary pre-service teachers' anticipated objectives and practices for teaching mathematics

Colleen Vale, Sandra Herbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Australian students’ attitudes to mathematics are in decline relative to other countries. Their participation in senior secondary mathematics that provide pathways to further study is also falling. Pedagogical approaches that improve students’ attitudes to mathematics and knowledge of mathematics are required. This paper reports on preservice secondary mathematics teachers’ objectives for their students’ learning and their anticipated teaching and learning activities. The study was conducted over one year using quantitative analysis of paired responses to items in pre and post questionnaires. At the end of the year, the preservice teachers emphasised objectives for understanding and positive disposition but anticipated using fluency activities almost daily. Investigations involving problem solving and reasoning were anticipated to occur at least weekly. However, a significant decline in their anticipated use of activities that link mathematics to other disciplines or applying mathematics to real world problems occurred. Other data suggest a lowering of emphasis on developing students’ disposition and interest in mathematics. The findings suggest that more attention needs to be given to raising preservice teachers’ awareness of the importance of students’ disposition. Further research on the impact of teaching experience and opportunities to develop all proficiencies and to link mathematics to other disciplines and real-world problems during preservice teacher education is recommended
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-28
Number of pages24
JournalMathematics Teacher Education and Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • preservice secondary mathematics teachers
  • teaching practices
  • learning objectives
  • positive disposition
  • interest
  • reasoning
  • problem solving
  • understanding

Cite this