An Exploration of Mathematical Mindset of Female Novice Early Childhood Teachers


Author/Creator ORCID






Organizational Leadership

Citation of Original Publication


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States


Beliefs about mathematical ability and skills in learning mathematics are sparked from students’ earliest school experiences. Early childhood teachers need to feel confident about their skills in teaching mathematics in order to improve student achievement as well as serve as role models for the next generation of elementary teachers. This qualitative study examined the connections between mathematical mindset and self-efficacy of nine female early childhood teachers and their mathematics instruction and students’ mathematics achievement. Novice teachers’ responses to interviews, a survey, their journal entries, and participation in a focus group were examined to understand their perceptions and beliefs about mathematics instruction and abilities. Student achievement data for mathematics were also analyzed for each teacher participant. Individual and cross participant analysis resulted in four salient findings: (1) Novice teachers wanted to give their students a different mathematics experience than the one they had; (2) A variety of factors impacted novice teachers’ instructional experiences and influenced their mindset; (3) Novice teachers held an unconscious bias related to gender and mathematics; and (4) Although novice teachers stated they have a growth mindset, their actual mindset is not indicative of being fully growth-oriented. Implications for future practice and research include considering the path to growth mindset as being one that evolves over time, and novice teachers require induction and other professional development supports to build capacity. Growth mindset, particularly in mathematics, has an impact on the self-efficacy of teachers who, in turn, impact their students.