Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Change in experienced teachers' pedagogical beliefs through learning elementary mathematics content
by Gaffney, Ann M., Ed.D., Rivier University, 2014, 265; 3708812
Abstract (Summary)

This qualitative case study examined the connection between experienced teachers' pedagogical beliefs and their learning of mathematics content. The beliefs of eight experienced elementary (K-8) mathematics teachers were examined before, during, and after the teachers participated in a professional development training exclusively teaching elementary mathematics content. Teachers' beliefs about quality mathematics lessons were solicited through lesson plans, journals, and interviews. Research questions discussed are: (1) What do experienced K-8 teachers believe constitutes a "quality mathematics lesson?" (2) How does the experience of learning mathematics content through inquiry change teachers' beliefs about what constitutes a "quality mathematics lesson?" This study found that teachers changed their beliefs about quality lessons with regard to mathematics content, to pedagogical strategies, and to students as learners through their experience learning mathematics. Teacher beliefs became more focused on mathematical reasoning, more focused on inquiry, and more student-centered. These new beliefs better align with definitions of quality instruction from the literature. Teachers incorporated their beliefs about mathematics, pedagogical strategies, and students as learners into a vision of quality mathematics lessons and the teacher's role in creating those lessons. Teachers' vision of their role changed from that of provider of knowledge to a guide of student discovery of mathematical understandings. The data indicated that these changes in beliefs, including changes in beliefs about pedagogy, were driven by the act of learning mathematics content via methods of inquiry. The results of this study have implications for understanding current and future research on teacher beliefs, for in-service professional development training in mathematics teaching, and for improving teacher effectiveness and student achievement in mathematics.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Gleason, John J.
Commitee: Magnus, Teresa D., Mousseau, Angela, Spadano, Joseph, Walrath, Robert
School: Rivier University
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- New Hampshire
Source: DAI-A 76/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Mathematics education, Pedagogy, Elementary education
Keywords: Constructivist teaching methods, Inquiry, Mathematics content knowledge, Mathematics teachers, Pedagogical beliefs, Teacher learning
Publication Number: 3708812
ISBN: 978-1-321-84247-0
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