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Mathematics, Language, and Learning: A Longitudinal Study of Elementary Teachers and Their Mathematics Teaching Practices

  • Author(s): Yeh, Cathery
  • Advisor(s): Santagata, Rossella
  • et al.
Abstract

Elementary school mathematics has gained increased attention in the last few decades. A growing field of research has studied the programmatic design and development of elementary mathematics teaching in teacher education, however, few studies have examined longitudinally the mathematics teaching of novice elementary teachers. Existing longitudinal studies on elementary mathematics teaching have generally focused on the effects of teacher preparation on their beginning practices and have examined novice teachers as a homogenous group. This dissertation consists of two studies that examined longitudinally novice elementary teachers and their mathematics teaching practices during their first two years of professional teaching. The first paper examined how three novice bilingual teachers organized mathematics learning for their emergent bilinguals. Data are drawn from three longitudinal case studies and include videotaped classroom observations and interviews of their mathematics instruction. Specifically, the study examined the type of supports the teachers provided to develop student learning of the language of mathematics, how learners were positioned within the classroom community, and how, and what, student repertoires of practice were utilized. The study findings highlight the complexity of bilingual teaching in the context of supporting students in learning the language of mathematics. The second paper examines the role of reflection as a vehicle for teacher change. Reflection has been identified in teacher education as a vehicle for professional growth and development. However, there are few studies that specifically look at the relation between reflection and teaching. This pair of case studies details the mathematics teaching practices and the teaching reflections of two novice teachers over a two-year period, examining their relationships, and how they may contribute to their development over time. Findings from this study highlight the generative potential in attending to student thinking in teaching and lesson reflection. In light of the two study findings, specific recommendations for teacher preparation are provided. A model of teacher knowledge from a situated perspective is proposed.

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