PRE-SERVICE PRIMARY TEACHER ATTITUDES TOWARDS MENTAL MAPPING IN MATHEMATICS
Mathematics is an important part of the education system. Learning mathematics is necessary for an individual’s full development in today’s complex society. Often, however, we encounter negative attitudes of pupils towards mathematics. Pupils often refer to not understanding mathematics, they consider that mathematics is too difficult for them. We are interested in the attitudes towards mathematics of future lower-primary-school mathematics teachers because the professional work of future mathematics teachers largely depends on their attitudes to the taught subject. We found that their attitudes were similar to pupils’. This was worrying. We were looking for suitable learning strategies that would help to better understand mathematics problems and change students’ attitudes towards mathematics.
The knowledge structure is regarded as an important component of understanding, and concept mapping is regarded as a strategy towards a successful learning of mathematics. Mental mapping techniques are interpreted as visual representatives of students’ thinking and students’ knowledge structures. In the design of conceptual maps, students will collate mathematical concepts, understand mutual hierarchical links and connections. Conversely, the concept map reflects the structuring of the mathematical fundamentals in the student's mind.
The paper summarizes our experiences with the concept mapping strategy in pre-service primary teacher mathematics teaching and the partial results ascertained in the research entitled ACPM (Attitudes Towards Concept Mapping in Mathematics), which was practised in 2016 and 2017. This research was focused on student attitudes to the using of the concept mapping strategy for a better understanding of mathematical foundations. We believe that if future teachers accept conceptual mapping as a strategy that leads to a successful understanding of mathematical fundamentals, they will pass on this progressive method in the future teaching profession.