Hyde, Rosalyn; Archer, Rosa; Bamber, Sally [PRESENTATION]
Understandings and perceptions of mastery approaches to mathematics: The case of beginning secondary teachers
This study reports on the perceptions and understanding of beginning teachers regarding mastery approaches to secondary mathematics teaching and the alignment of their beliefs and practice. We draw on qualitative data from six semi- structured interviews designed to interrogate and capture teachers’ understanding of the features of mastery learning within their own practice. The interviews used vignettes, defined as “written … stimuli … reflecting realistic and identifiable settings that resonate with participants for the purpose of provoking responses, including … beliefs, perceptions” (Skilling & Styliandes 2020, 542-3). The analytical framework drew on Guskey’s (2015) interpretation of Bloom’s theory of mastery learning together with features of mastery learning in mathematics from Drury (2018) and Boylan (2018). Whilst capturing the full complexity of beginning teachers’ perception and understanding is beyond the scope of this study, the data provides insight into these teachers’ experiences at a time when mastery learning discourse is prominent (Boylan 2018). The study exposes differences in their interpretation of the principles of mastery learning well as tensions that arise between beginning teachers’ beliefs, practice, professional knowledge and sense of agency in their developing classroom roles. We further found that some beginning teachers found it challenging to talk about pedagogy and evidence of continuing misconceptions about teaching and mastery approaches.
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