Teachers' perceptions of training needs and competence in elementary school mathematics

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This study sought to determine pressing perceived training needs and to assess perceptions of teacher competence in mathematics teaching skills at the primary level. A set of 28 mathematics teaching skills were investigated using a Likert type questionnaire. Information on teachers' perceptions of their training needs and teaching competence was collected from 100 primary school teachers in the district of St. George East, Trinidad. Statistical analysis of the data indicated that the most pressing perceived needs were catering for the slow learner and mathematically gifted, as well as teaching newer content areas in mathematics. Participants and non-participants of the Ministry's inservice programmes differed significantly on perceived desire for further training on 71 percent of the skills, but no significant differences on perceptions of teaching competence were found on all of the skills. The Ministry's inservice programme did not address 55 percent of the pressing needs. Teaching level and years of experience were not found to be related to perceived training needs. Level of attainment in mathematics was found to be unrelated to perception of teaching competence


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