Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A case study of pre -service teachers experiences in a reform geometry course
by McGlone, Chadd W., Ph.D., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2009, 216; 3352934
Abstract (Summary)

This study documented 25 pre-service elementary and middle school teachers’ experiences in an inductive geometry course. It utilized a qualitative case study design in order to gain insight into the participants’ reactions. Data were collected through in-depth student interviews that elicited information about students’ previous mathematics courses; their reaction to this particular mathematics course; their view of themselves as mathematicians; their beliefs about mathematics teaching and learning; and their perspective about the role that this particular mathematics class played in their preservice teacher training. Additional data came from student reflections on a summary essay question; their responses to an attitude about mathematics assessment; and their answers on a geometry knowledge assessment. Data were also collected in the form of frequent classroom observations.

Overall, Students’ beliefs about teaching and learning were transformed during this semester. They also gained pedagogical skills on which to draw when they become teachers and learned how to create a constructivist classroom environment complete with supportive tools and resources. Students developed an appreciation for (1) the process of obtaining an answer, (2) multiple solutions to mathematical problems, (3) learning for mathematical understanding, (4) the value of cooperative learning in the classroom, (5) the impact of meaningful, high-demand mathematics on understanding, and (6) the role of classroom tools, like manipulatives and technology, in the learning process.

Students came to realize that mathematical knowledge originates from within students in the classroom, not just the teacher and textbook. Out of this expectation grew a commitment to the efficacy of cooperative learning; consequently, many students reported that their mathematics class will look different than they believed it would at the beginning of the semester.

Other findings were: (a) when discussing memories of previous mathematics classes, students described traits unique to traditional instruction; (b) participants describe the student-centered lessons in this particular geometry course as being entirely different from previous courses; (c) students became knowledgeable, confident mathematicians as a result of their exposure to the instruction in this course; and (d) students reported that this reform-based geometry course played an important role in their pre-service teacher training.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Malloy, Carol E.
Commitee: Friel, Susan N., Neal, Edward J., Rowlett, Russell J., Steinthorsdoittir, Olof B.
School: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Department: Education: Doctorate/Master's in Education
School Location: United States -- North Carolina
Source: DAI-A 70/04, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Mathematics education, Teacher education
Keywords: Content knowledge, Geometry, Pedagogy, Preservice teachers
Publication Number: 3352934
ISBN: 978-1-109-11322-8
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