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ERIC Number: ED534041
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 223
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1249-3753-3
High School Teachers' Perceptions of the Inclusion of History of Mathematics in the Classroom
Bolinger Horton, Leslie
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of Massachusetts Lowell
The goal of this research study was to gain an understanding of high school teachers' perceptions of the role of history of mathematics in the classroom as well as their underlying view of mathematics as a discipline. High school teachers from 379 Public High Schools in Massachusetts were contacted and encouraged to take an on-line Likert scale survey. Three-hundred and sixty seven surveys were analyzed. The survey, designed by the researcher intended to reveal trends in teachers' perceptions of mathematics as a discipline and the inclusion of history of mathematics. The findings reveal that teachers, who include history of mathematics in their classroom instruction, have an interest in mathematics, see the benefit of mathematics and agree that a strong mathematics background helps them to be an effective teacher. In addition, a teacher who includes history of mathematics views mathematics as a product of human invention which is open to error (fallible), and reconceptualization. Teachers who include history of mathematics possess confidence in curricular and content knowledge. Having an advanced degree and taken more than one course on the history of mathematics is a common background for teachers who include history of mathematics in their classroom instruction. In contrast, those teachers who tend to view mathematics as utilitarian, and infallible or absolute will be less likely to include history of mathematics in their instruction. In addition, teachers who have had no courses on history of mathematics, and do not hold an advanced degree, which focused on mathematics content, will be less likely to incorporate history of mathematics in their teaching. Teachers who are not confident in their mathematical content knowledge and do not consider a strong mathematical background essential to being an effective teacher, will likely not include history of mathematics in classroom instruction. This study would suggest that systematic professional development focused on advancing teacher knowledge about the development mathematical concepts, tied to history of mathematics, is critical to mathematics education if history of mathematics is to be viewed as a support in students' construction of mathematical knowledge, and incorporated into the curriculum. Providing teachers with information regarding the philosophical perspectives of mathematics and how those perspectives inform instruction is also recommended as a professional development program. Since confidence in content knowledge is a factor in a teacher's decision to include history of mathematics, it also recommended that professional development focus on building teachers' mathematical content knowledge which may, indirectly, help to build teacher confidence in mathematical content knowledge. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts