There is a large body of research that documents mathematics anxiety among elementary prospective teachers (PTs) (e.g., Dutton, 1951; Gresham, 2007; Sloan, 2010). Anxiety about mathematics leaves many PTs with the belief that they are not good at doing mathematics, a fear of doing mathematics, and the response that they do not want to talk about or display this fear to others. This disposition is dangerous for PTs because it perpetuates a cycle of mathematics anxiety with their future students. The goal of this article is to encourage the use of research findings when mathematics teacher educators (MTEs) are working with PTs as a way to decrease PTs’ mathematics anxiety levels prior to their entry into the teaching profession. Starting with a summary of research findings about the causes of PTs’ mathematics anxiety, this article then presents eight research–based recommendations that MTEs can use to help reduce PTs’ mathematics anxiety levels while teaching a mathematics content course designed for elementary PTs. It is important for MTEs to be aware of the prevalence of mathematics anxiety among their PTs, to know where that mathematics anxiety originates so they can avoid intensifying the anxiety, and to utilize research–based strategies for reducing the anxiety. This article presents research on PTs’ mathematics anxiety in a way that is easily accessible for MTEs.
Karunakaran, M. S. (June 2020). Opportunities to decrease elementary prospective teachers’ mathematics anxiety. In A. Appova, R. M. Welder, and Z. Feldman, (Eds.), Supporting Mathematics Teacher Educators’ Knowledge and Practices for Teaching Content to Prospective (Grades K-8) Teachers. Special Issue: The Mathematics Enthusiast, ISSN 1551- 3440, vol. 17, nos. 2 & 3, pp. 469–492. ScholarWorks: University of Montana. Retrieve (open access) from: https://scholarworks.umt.edu/tme