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In this chapter a group at Illinois State University describe how they used the scholarship of teaching and learning to investigate whether having preservice teachers participate in a mathematical research experience for undergraduates (REU) program influenced their beliefs about teaching and learning mathematics. Unable to find an appropriate survey instrument, they developed their own. They explain the organization and content of the survey, tell how they piloted and tested it for reliability, and describe how the results are being used to improve the REU program.
The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) can serve as a critical tool for improving instruction at the post-secondary level. If we, mathematicians and mathematics educators, can systematically explore, share, and reflect on our understanding of quality collegiate instruction, improvement in overall course quality and student learning can follow. The multifaceted nature of student learning presents a challenge for any educational study. One such facet is student beliefs. For example, an effective instructional strategy for teaching an honors calculus course for mathematics majors may not translate to a calculus course designed for business majors because of the different attitudes and beliefs of these two groups. Differences in students' views of the nature of mathematics, the importance of building mathematical understanding, the beauty of mathematics, or the standards for reasoning and proof, all can influence the success of instruction. In this chapter, we describe a SoTL study designed to inform and improve a mathematics education program that engages future secondary teachers in authentic mathematics research experiences. One of the goals of the program, the REU Site: Mathematics Research Experience for Pre-service and In-service Teachers (REU), is to change teachers' beliefs about mathematics and about the teaching and learning of mathematics and thus to influence the way they teach.
Impact of Beliefs on Secondary Mathematics Teachers
Numerous researchers have cited the impact of beliefs on teaching and learning (Ernest, 1989; Philipp, 2007; Schoenfeld, 1985; Silver, 1985; Thompson, 1992).
We must begin with names. ‘Tony Edwards’ is the person to whom this volume is dedicated, but it is not a name that everyone will immediately recognize, particularly those who know him only from his published work, for he has made himself known in public, from the first, as A. S. G. Edwards. When he began his career, this was the manner in which most scholars, most men at least, named themselves. Fashions have changed, and given names, one, two, or more, are now almost universal. But Tony has held on tenaciously to his initials, perhaps because he has three of them. We do not believe that he did so in any spirit of emulation of or desire to align himself with ‘Edwards A. S. G.’, the Edwards Active Strain Gauge well known to Google, an advanced form of technical engineering equipment which guarantees the vacuum conditions needed for the manufacture of certain precision instruments, such as aircraft engine turbine blades. It seems strangely apt as an analogous form of ‘A. S. G.’, whether one thinks of the ‘active strain’ involved as what he exerts upon himself or upon other people. The analogy fails, of course, when one comes to the creation of vacuum, where it works back to front, for Tony's work has essentially been to fill the vacuum that once existed in the study of manuscript history.
Late medieval manuscripts and early modern print history form the focus of this volume. It includes new work on the compilation of some important medieval manuscript miscellanies and major studies of merchant patronage and of a newly revealed woman patron, alongside explorations of medieval texts and the post-medieval reception history of Langland, Chaucer and Nicholas Love. It thus pays a fitting tribute to the career of Professor A.S.G. Edwards, highlighting his scholarly interests and demonstrating the influence of his achievements. Carol M. Meale is Senior Research Fellow at the University of Bristol; Derek Pearsall is Professor Emeritus at Harvard University and Honorary Research Professor at the University of York. Contributors: Nicolas Barker, J.A. Burrow, A.I. Doyle, Martha W. Driver, Susanna Fein, Jane Griffiths, Lotte Hellinga, Alfred Hiatt, Simon Horobin, Richard Linenthal,Carol M. Meale, Orietta Da Rold, John Scattergood, Kathleen L. Scott, Toshiyuki Takamiya., John J. Thompson.