Examining Beliefs and Practices of Self and Others: Pivotal Points for Change and Growth for Mathematics Teacher Educators



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In this article six mathematics teacher educators describe a collaborative self-study that examined personal beliefs about mathematics teacher education. We were striving to understand more fully our beliefs and belief structures, including how these beliefs influence our instructional practices. We describe four beliefs about mathematics teacher education which we shared and which were instrumental in further examination of our beliefs and practices: (1) mathematics is problematic and generated through sense-making; (2) a community of learners enhances learning; (3) mathematics teacher educators need to be explicitly aware of the learner in different contexts; and (4) teaching is complex at all levels. By considering our own beliefs and practices as well as those of others, we came to see features that might have otherwise remained invisible. In the process of self-study, we became aware that some of our fundamental beliefs were not as evident in our practice as we expected. As a result, we each made conscious, productive moves that allowed our core beliefs to be more evident in our practice. We describe how these changes resulted from discussions with trusted colleagues and the examination of others' beliefs and practices as well as our own. We propose self-study as one approach for tapping into mathematics teacher educators' practitioner knowledge to create a professional knowledge base for mathematics teacher educators.