This study took place at a mid-sized, Midwestern university located in a mid-sized town. The researchers developed the BAR model to teach mathematics methods both in the classroom and in the field. The preservice teachers took Enochs, Smith, and Huinker's Mathematics Teaching Efficacy Beliefs Instrument (MTEBI) on the first and last day of class. A total of 297 responses were collected from the pre- and posttests, with 280 matching responses, which were then used for data analysis. Mixed methods were used to analyze qualitative and quantitative data. The researchers sought to determine if the specific teaching methods from the BAR model led to positive changes in preservice teacher efficacy beliefs. They also explored if efficacy beliefs changed as a result of field experiences. Preservice teachers' efficacy scores changed positively on every item on the MTEBI. The researchers also determined that there was an increase in preservice teachers' outputs as a result of their field experiences.
Purpose of the Study
"It seems imperative that teacher education programs assess their effectiveness, at least in part, on how well they nurture beliefs that are consistent with the program's philosophy of learning and teaching" (Hart, 2002, p.4). Assessing preservice teachers' efficacy beliefs about teaching also plays an important role in assessing a program's effectiveness. Understanding their beliefs about teaching mathematics can send important messages about the university's mathematics methods program. Because of deliberate choices of methods and instruction with opportunities for practice in field experiences, the authors sought to determine if a positive change in preservice teachers' beliefs about teaching mathematics would occur over the semester that could be related to the course's deliberately chosen methodology. It would be important to determine if there would be a positive paradigm shift in preservice teachers' beliefs, attitudes, and motivation toward teaching mathematics. The data thus gathered by studying their beliefs could provide evidence about the mathematics methods program's effectiveness and could be used to inform practice.
To assess the beliefs of preservice teachers in multiple sections of a mathematics methods course, a twofold approach was taken. First, Enochs, Smith, and Huinker's (2000) Mathematics Teaching Efficacy Beliefs Instrument (MTEBI) was chosen to measure the preservice teachers' efficacy beliefs. It was used as a pre- and posttest to determine if there was a significant difference between preservice teachers' Personal Mathematics Teaching Efficacy, or self-efficacy, and Mathematics Teaching Outcome Expectancy, or outcome expectancy (OE), beliefs (Enochs et al.). It was important to assess their beliefs to see their views of what teachers of mathematics should know and do--OE--and how they viewed themselves as successful future teachers of mathematics--self-efficacy (SE). The MTEBI can quantitatively establish whether a preservice teacher's OE and SE changed following participation in the course. If there were any changes in their efficacy beliefs, the researchers assumed that corresponding evidence to support that quantitative data would be found. Collecting both qualitative and quantitative data would enable the researchers to gain a clearer picture of the course's effectiveness in increasing OE and SE as well as developing the...