Date of Award

5-16-2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Early Childhood Education

First Advisor

Lynn C. Hart, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Shonda Lemons-Smith, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Daphne Greenberg, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Julie Dangel, Ph.D.

Abstract

Elementary school teachers teach a variety of subjects requiring a range of content and pedagogical knowledge, and substantial professional development to support this knowledge often is lacking (Clements & Sarama, 2008). Mentoring, an important aspect of professional development, is particularly useful for developing content and pedagogical knowledge. However, content mentoring, i.e., mentoring support in a specific content area such as mathematics, has received little attention in research on elementary teachers. To address this gap in the research, this study examines support in a master’s program that provides mentoring specifically in mathematics for elementary school teachers. Using a sequential explanatory design, this mixed methods study employs the Mentoring for Effective Mathematics Teaching (MEMT) survey with twenty-six (26) graduates of the program. The 34-item Likert scale survey reveals perceptions of their mathematics mentoring experience. In order to obtain a deeper understanding of the perceptions, four (4) of the teachers participated in semi-structured interviews. This last data source provides additional insights into the role of school context in mentoring. The results reveal qualities of mentors that inservice elementary mathematics teachers found to be important beyond mathematics content knowledge, specifically, differences in school contexts that impact elementary mathematics teachers’ mentoring experiences. The results suggest direction for future research on mentoring for elementary school teachers who teach mathematics.

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