Mathematical beliefs held by Costa Rican pre-service teachers and teacher educators
Abstract: Beliefs have been conceived as a hidden variable in mathematics education. It is important to know teachers’ beliefs as they can inform the way that teachers teach mathematics, make decisions in the classroom, and form opinions about the abilities of students. In Costa Rica, studies about beliefs have been conducted with in-service teachers, but there is no research on pre-service teachers and the beliefs they bring to the classroom from their teacher education programs (TEPs). This research aims to describe the beliefs held by 76 pre-service teachers and 19 teacher educators from four Costa Rican public universities, using the Teacher Education and Development Study in Mathematics (TEDS-M) questionnaire. The results suggest that both pre-service teachers and teacher educators believe in a constructivist orientation focused on the learner. Both groups support the view of mathematics as a process of inquiry and active learning and agree that mathematical skills are not fixed or associated with gender or culture. In the literature, the beliefs manifested by the participants are associated with positive results regarding student outcomes and teaching practices. Therefore, policymakers should be concerned with providing environments that allow and encourage teachers to continue with these belief orientations when they start teaching.