The contribution of teacher confidence to ‘excellent’ mathematics teaching
This research had two drivers: the persistent demand by policy makers for educators to achieve ‘excellence’ in teaching without defining what is meant; the paradoxes encountered by teachers across education who need to reconcile their personal and professionalism identity, and the political agenda. The research question was ‘How is excellence in primary mathematics teaching perceived by primary mathematics teacher educators?’. Four different mathematics educator groups were interviewed producing narrative and mind-maps. An interpretative, thematic approach to analysis was adopted to explore understandings and beliefs. One outcome was three interwoven and interdependent themes - confidence, knowledge and supererogation -which contribute together to create excellent teaching in primary mathematics. The research showed that excellence is an aspirational ideal, embodied in the child who is the product of excellent teaching. This paper explores the role of primary school teachers’ confidence in teaching mathematics, capacity for improvement and the potential impact on the pupils.
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