MATHEMATICS PREPARATION AND MATHEMATICS IN-SERVICE TRAINING NEEDS AND PREFERENCES OF MATHEMATICS TEACHERS OF THE HEARING IMPAIRED IN THE UNITED STATES
The Problem. This research attempted to appraise the mathematical preparation of elementary and secondary teachers of mathematics employed at the residential and day schools for the deaf in the United States, and to assess their mathematics in-service training needs and preferences. The Procedure. A forty-item questionnaire was mailed to 48 residential and 17 day schools for the deaf nationwide. The primary data were obtained from responses to questionnaire items made by a sample of 88 elementary and 44 secondary teachers of mathematics at selected schools. In the analysis of data, the statistical methods used here included t-tests, frequency and percentage distributions, and point and interval estimates. The Conclusions. The analysis of data led to the following conclusions: (1) The number of mathematics content courses taken by the teachers is significantly less than the minimum number as recommended by the Committee on Undergraduate Program in Mathematics (CUPM), and also significantly less than those taken by the public school teachers. (2) The number of mathematics methods courses taken by the teachers is about the same as those taken by the public school teachers. (3) The teachers have infrequently participated in a mathematics in-service program. (4) The teachers want to participate in an in-service program in mathematics. (5) For mathematics in-service training, the teachers prefer applications of mathematics in real-life situations, or any practical mathematics topic specific enough for direct classroom use. Furthermore, the teachers do not want a general, theoretical, or abstract mathematics kind of topic not relevant to their teaching. (6) The teachers consider it important that they be given the opportunity to select topics for a mathematics in-service program they are participating in. Among the hearing-impaired teachers, the service of a paid-for, qualified or certified interpreter is considered a very important incentive for participation. (7) While the schools do encourage and support professional growth of teachers, the schools have not encouraged the teachers to participate in an in-service program in mathematics nor have the schools encouraged the teachers to grow professionally in mathematics. (8) Although the teachers are adequately trained to teach the deaf, and feel confident about the mathematics they are teaching, they not only may fail to keep up with the current developments in mathematics education, but may be inadequately prepared to teach mathematics as well.