You are on page 1of 3

The pre-service teaching trainings offer best experiences that promote professional

development among pre-service teachers (Howitt, 2007; Lougrahn, Moulhall, and Berry
2008; as cited by Cheng, 2013). Exposing pre-service teachers to real classroom
activities and allowing them to handle the class themselves are important experiences for
teacher institutions to produce effective, excellent, and professional teachers. Student
teaching experiences allow pre-service teachers to develop positive self-efficacy beliefs,
instructional materials beliefs, and classroom management beliefs (Yilmaz and Cavas,
2008). Such positive beliefs on taking on the role of a teacher ensure the affectivity of a
pre-service teacher when he or she becomes an in-service educator.

Readiness in teaching math

The literature indicates that teachers’ background subject knowledge directly influences
student achievement (Barth, 2002; Ingersoll, 2003; Darling-Hammond & Bransford,
2005;Heritage & Vendlinski, 2006; Hill, Rowan & Ball, 2005; National Mathematics
Advisory Panel,2008). This view is supported by studies which spans over several
decades documenting that many teachers enter the classroom without a comprehensive
understanding of mathematics (Hill,Rowen, & Ball, 1995; Ball & Bass, 2000; Ball, 1990;
Usiskin, 2001). Such findings claim that the lack of teachers’ mathematical understanding
significantly impact students’ opportunities for learning, as teacher content knowledge is
a vital component for academic success (Darling Hammond, 2000). In order to explain
mathematical concepts and provide connections and rationales behind mathematical
operations, teachers need a profound understanding of the subject (Ma, 1999). Rosas &
Campbell’s (2010) study found that pre-service teachers had a limited understanding of
mathematics. Their study, which focused on mathematical achievement of preservice
teachers at a small private IHE in southwestern Ohio, revealed that these graduate
students completed an average of three undergraduate mathematic courses (M = 3.5;
SD= 2.09), with the majority (77%) of the coursework at the basic level. This finding of a
basic level of mathematic coursework supports Floden & Meiketti’s (2005) literature
review, which found that teachers only had a cursory understanding of mathematics and
lacked the ability to elucidate important concepts. “If the ability to explain basic concepts
is important for teaching, then the subject matter courses teachers now typically take
leave a large fraction of teachers without important subject matter knowledge” (p. 283).

Results of this study support the research that spans over several decades documenting
that many teachers enter the classroom without a comprehensive understanding of
mathematics (Ball & Bass, 2000; Ball, 1990). In particular, Flodin and Meiketti (2005)
found that teachers only have a cursory understanding of mathematics, which could
explain the perceptions of the pre-service teachers in this study. Ma (1990) found that a
profound understanding of mathematics is necessary to fully explain mathematical
concepts and to provide meaningful connections behind mathematics in the classroom.
Therefore, the self-reported adequate level of readiness to teach mathematics by Ohio
pre-service teachers may be an indication that additional mathematics coursework is
needed in teacher preparation programs.

Under the premise of what novice teachers reported as the most challenging aspects of entering
their careers, several universities have shifted the focus of essential outcomes for their pre-service
teachers in their field placement site (Watzke, 2003). Classroom management, discipline, and
reaching diverse learners were among some of the most commonly reported difficulties, and have
also been reported as being the most difficult to instruct. Kaya, Lundeen, and Wolfgang (2010)
analysed how a pre-service teacher evolved in two of these areas over the course of their pre-
service experience with the intent of identifying specific variables that may influence their own
personal theories.

According to Shaharuddin, the knowledge aspect of readiness is vital for teachers to


convey and transfer necessary knowledge of a subject matter to their students. Yusrina
in agreeing with Shaharuddin states that the low and moderate readiness level of
teachers’ knowledge of a subject matter could influence their own attitude and capabilities
in using the mastery learning method in the classrooms. Peters et al. (1963) stresses that
a good lesson depends on the knowledge and methods of teaching used by teachers in
their classrooms. Fuchs et al. (1986), Faridah, Yusrina and Marina agree that mastery
learning method is effective in increasing the performance of students. Despite having
the low level of readiness in terms of the knowledge of mastery learning method, the
Principles of Accounting teachers had a high readiness level in terms of the skills of
implementing the mastery learning method in the classrooms. This showed that teachers
often used mastery learning method in their classrooms despite not understanding its
concepts and principles. The teachers’ readiness level in terms of attitude was good in
general based on gender, age and experiences of teaching. For example, the more
number of years of teaching the subject matter, the better attitude they had towards using
the mastery learning method in their classrooms