First Advisor

Soto-Johnson, Hortensia

Date Created



In this qualitative dissertation, I examined six nontraditional (based on age) and six traditional preservice elementary teachers' beliefs and changes in beliefs about mathematics and mathematics teaching. These case study participants were enrolled in one of three mathematics content courses designed for preservice elementary teachers at a mid-sized doctoral granting university in the western United States. I selected the twelve participants based on the predetermined criteria of gender (female), age (less than 30 for traditional and at least 30 for nontraditional), mathematics instructor, preservice mathematics course, and group dynamics. Data collection consisted of two approximately 45-minute long interviews per preservice teacher, two approximately 30-minute long interviews per instructor, and classroom observations. After data collection, I coded the data using NVivo and searched for themes in the participants' responses. From the coding, I found six themes in the data: Senses, Socio-cultural, Standards Aligned Beliefs about Mathematics, Nonstandards Aligned Beliefs about Mathematics, Standards Aligned Beliefs about Mathematics Teaching, and Nonstandards Aligned Beliefs about Mathematics Teaching. Findings included the fact that nontraditional preservice teachers, on average, ranked themselves higher in their self confidence in teaching mathematics at the K-6 grade levels than the traditional participants. Nontraditional participants also were less likely than traditional participants to change their belief systems based on preservice mathematics content courses. A common finding among participants included the fact that all participants believed they would teach using all five senses in their future classroom. Implications for teaching of preservice elementary teachers consist of the following: offering activities involving family member participation as classroom practice, providing additional tutoring support and/or a cohort grouping for nontraditional preservice teachers, and giving traditional preservice teachers extra support to decrease possible self efficacy concerns they may have about teaching mathematics.

Abstract Format



Teacher Training; Elementary Education; Mathematics Education; Adult Learners; Mathematics; Pedagogy; Preservice Elementary Teachers


315 pages

Local Identifiers


Rights Statement

Copyright is held by author.