Examining Teacher Mathematics-Related Beliefs and Problem-Solving Knowledge for Teaching: Evidence from Indonesian Primary and Secondary Teachers

By Siswono, Tatag Yuli Eko; Kohar, Ahmad Wachidul et al. | International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, June 2019 | Go to article overview

Examining Teacher Mathematics-Related Beliefs and Problem-Solving Knowledge for Teaching: Evidence from Indonesian Primary and Secondary Teachers


Siswono, Tatag Yuli Eko, Kohar, Ahmad Wachidul, Hartono, Sugi, Rosyidi, Abdul Haris, Kurniasari, Ika, Karim, Karim, International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education


Introduction

Knowledge and beliefs of teachers are still becoming areas of considerable current research activity in mathematics education (Beswick, 2012; Liljedahl, 2010; Xenofontos, 2018). Across nations, teacher beliefs have been assessed to understand the influence of cultural aspect toward teachers' view and performance of teaching practice (see, e.g. Andrews & Hatch, 2000; Cai & Wang, 2010; Wang & Cai, 2007; Xenofontos, 2018). Meanwhile, teacher mathematical knowledge have been assessed through international surveys with a significant number of samples such as TEDS-M (Teacher Education and Development Study in Mathematics) (Tatto et al., 2013) to compare the teacher performance on mathematical knowledge for teaching and single-nation studies (e.g. Ekawati et al, 2015; Siswono et al, 2016; 2017) with a smaller number of samples through qualitative or quantitative studies.

In Indonesia, teacher beliefs and knowledge have begun to get attention from educational researchers, particularly to understand the initial assessments as resources for upgrading the quality of Indonesian mathematics teachers (Ekawati et al, 2015; Purnomo et al., 2016; Purnomo, 2017; Siswono et al., 2016). This effort is to answer the challenge of the significant curricular reform for all school levels for primary, junior high school, and senior high school which is currently undergoing since the year 2013. Such a reform, as found in the previous curriculum, keep giving focus on improving students' problem-solving (MoE, 2016). However, the educational researchers through their national single-studies reported teachers' weaknesses on problem-solving content and pedagogical knowledge (see, e.g. Siswono et al, 2016), the knowledge which direct teachers hold problem-solving instruction (Chapman, 2015). Also, several reports reveal teachers' inconsistent beliefs toward teachers' teaching practice (Purnomo et al., 2016; Siswono et al., 2017; Siswono et al., 2018a), and teachers' traditional beliefs about the nature of mathematics which influence more dominantly than the other domains of beliefs against instructional practices (Purnomo, 2017). Thus, the reform of curriculum needs changing teachers' beliefs because teachers behavior regarding their use of new resources mandated by the curriculum, as Handal and Herrington (2003) argued, will be cosmetic, which means that the behaviors do not indicate the manifestation of the expected principles of the curriculum reform.

Teacher beliefs and knowledge are two distinct concepts the differences around conviction and consensuality (Thompson, 1992). First, beliefs can be held with varying degrees of confidence, while general knowledge is not thought of in this way. For example, while someone might say that he believes in something strongly, he will be less likely to talk about knowing facts actively. Second, beliefs are not consensual, while knowledge is consensual. That is, someone is generally aware that other people may believe differently and that their thought is indisputable, while concerning knowledge, people find general agreement about procedures to evaluate and assess their validity.

Despite these two are different, there is a relationship between teacher knowledge and beliefs regarding mathematics instruction. Along with teacher mathematical knowledge, teacher mathematics-related beliefs such as beliefs about nature of mathematics, mathematics teaching, and mathematics learning also become variables that play a role in guiding that knowledge to create meaningful mathematics learning (Purnomo, 2017). Teacher mathematics-related beliefs have been researched to have strong interactions with knowledge in shaping teacher teaching practices with varying degrees given on certain types of knowledge or beliefs in different situations (Bray, 2011). While teacher knowledge appeared to drive the quality of teachers' responses to student performances in class discussions, teacher beliefs seemed most related to how teachers structured class discussions (Bray, 2011). …

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