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TEACHER ATTITUDES TOWARDS THE INTEGRATION OF PROGRAMMING IN MIDDLE SCHOOL MATHEMATICS

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Author list: Mozelius, Peter
Publisher: IATED
Place: Valencia
Publication year: 2019

Abstract

Involving computer programming in primary school is an urgent issue in many countries, and in Sweden this should be done during 2018. In Mathematics this will a rapid and mandatory process for teachers that often lack programming proficiency. There are several studies conducted on the student impact of programming and the potential learning outcomes. Less has been published on the teacher attitudes and the teacher perspective of programming in primary school. The aim of this study was to explore and discuss teacher attitudes towards the introduction of programming in middle school.

The study was carried out as a qualitative cross-sectional study with the idea of capturing the attitudes and beliefs amongst middle school teachers during the second half of the 2018 spring semester. Eight Mathematic teachers were selected for semi-structured interviews that were carried out by distance with rich media communication tools. Audio-recorded answers were analysed and divided into five predefined categories in a deductive thematic analysis. Interviewees have been kept as anonymous as possible through the process, and they all participated on a voluntary basis with the option to quit the interviews immediately at any moment.

A main finding was that the majority of teachers are positive about the introduction of programming in middle school mathematics, although some challenges and shortcomings were identified. Furthermore, the interviewed teachers’ beliefs are that computer programming could have a positive impact on students’ mathematic skills through improved their problem-solving ability and improved their logical thinking. Some teachers also brought up the idea of programming as a way of creating energy and motivation in middle school mathematics. However, the fast introduction of programming will probably create stress on teachers without earlier programming experience. Teachers’ recommendation for facilitating and coping with stress is to provide courses in fundamental programming as soon as possible.


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