Date of Award

1-6-2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Middle and Secondary Education

First Advisor

Christine Thomas

Second Advisor

David Stinson

Third Advisor

Jennifer Esposito

Fourth Advisor

Kimberly White-Fredette

Abstract

The purpose of this narrative inquiry study was to investigate the influence of curricular mandates on the teaching practices of high school mathematics teachers. Narrative inquiry, philosophically based on John Dewey’s theory of experience (Dewey, 1938), provides the intimate study of an individual's experience over time and in context(s) (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000). This study focused on the experiences of three high school mathematics teachers’ stories of educational change with data collected through interviews and personal documents. Socio-cultural narrative analysis was used to interpret the participants’ stories of adaptation. The data, presented as an ethnodrama, is composed of scenes taken from the interviews and interweaves the participants’ stories of evolution as they tackled the struggles of change on multiple levels: curriculum, student assessment, and teacher evaluation.

Results indicated teachers adopt both traditional and reform strategies when deciding on appropriate teaching practices. Collaboration and professional development were two important aspects used by the participants to enlarge their toolbox of teaching practices when forced to challenge their existing beliefs. This study contributes to the scarce research on the impact of curricular mandates on teaching practices. It also highlights the experiences of high school mathematics teachers as they embrace the paradigm shift associated with the mandates and implement changes to their practices to promote a more student-centered, collaborative environment.

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