The inspiration for this research came from a question asked of teachers, why do we need to learn this? Although John Dewey promoted the use of real world experiences over one hundred years ago, many mathematics classrooms are still void of relevant connections for students. The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions of nationally certified mathematics teachers on relevance in order to describe their instructional practice, analyze their motivations and barriers in providing relevant connections, and explain the gap between research-based knowledge and current instructional practices.
Twelve teachers participated in this research study. Six themes emerged from the data: approaches to relevance, accomplished practitioners, professional development, school culture, student apathy, and instructional planning. After conducting standard qualitative analysis, Bronfenbrenner’s ecosystem emerged as an explanation for the external forces affecting students. However, a second similar ecosystem was uncovered that affected the classroom teachers. This expansion of Bronfenbrenner’s ecosystem from one to two ecosystems explains the cultural forces impacting the interactions between teachers and students in the classroom. The barriers to effective research-based instructional practice reside in two sets of forces, Dual Ecosystems Affecting Learners and Teachers (DEALT). The implications for leaders desiring academic excellence include looking outside of the classroom to impact school improvement.
|Advisor:||Griffith, Linda K., Frank, Adam D.|
|Commitee:||McClellan, Rhonda L., Miller, Rachelle G.|
|School:||University of Central Arkansas|
|School Location:||United States -- Arkansas|
|Source:||DAI-A 79/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Mathematics education, Educational leadership, Education|
|Keywords:||Bronfenbrenner, Classroom instruction, Educational leadership, Mathematics, National Board Certified Teachers, Relevance|
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