Korean teachers' intentions toward reform-oriented instruction in mathematics : structures underlying teacher change

Oh, Young-youl
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The purpose of this study is to investigate structures underlying teacher change in teaching practice focused on teachers’ intentions toward reformoriented instruction in mathematics. The effects of teachers’ beliefs and knowledge about mathematics and how it should be learned on teachers’ change intentions were examined. To deal with the problem, the theory of planned behavior (TPB) was adopted to generate five hypothetical structural equation models (SEM) to be tested. The investigation was completed in two steps. The main study consisted of analyses for the models. To do this, randomly selected 281 elementary teachers completed Mathematics Instruction Instrument Scale. The second part consisted of a survey of 130 fourth and fifth grade students and classroom observations for four selected teachers to illuminate the degree to vi which the results from the main analyses are aligned with the reality in classrooms. Multiple t-test revealed highly significant differences in teachers’ personal beliefs concerning the likelihood of occurrence of consequences of teaching mathematics in the reform-oriented way between reform-oriented and traditionaloriented groups of teachers. Analyses of multiple regression showed that teachers’ intentions are primarily a function of attitudes and their perceptions of the social pressure toward reform-oriented mathematics instruction. AMOS analyses for the models demonstrated that a model including both knowledge (KM) and beliefs (BM) about mathematics and its learning into the TPB was best fitted to the data, although BM was found to influence teachers’ intention indirectly through attitudes and subjective norms. AMOS analyses also identified the quite strength of TPB in accounting for the data for the reform-oriented group of teachers. Finally, analyses of students’ perceptions to classroom learning environment and of observations for teaching practices in reality strongly supported that both students’ learning and teachers’ actual teaching practice of mathematics are significantly influenced by different structures underlying teachers’ intentions toward teaching mathematics. The data strongly suggest that teacher change in mathematics teaching practice is based primarily on teachers’ personal beliefs concerning likelihood of occurrence of consequences of reform-oriented mathematics teaching. Teachers’ perceptions on the important others, teaching constraints, beliefs and knowledge about mathematics and its teaching and learning seem to play a relatively minor role in teacher change.