Date of Award

2-12-2008

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Middle-Secondary Education and Instructional Technology

First Advisor

Christine D. Thomas, Ph.D. - Chair

Second Advisor

Asa G. Hilliard, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Kathryn A. Kozaitis, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Lynn C. Hart, Ph.D.

Abstract

In the United States, diverse learners, defined by race, ethnicity, language, and socioeconomic status, do poorly in mathematics in disproportionate numbers. Research suggests that teachers who use instructional practices that build on the cultural strengths of racial and ethnic minorities can increase academic achievement for these students. Using culturally relevant pedagogy as a theoretical framework, this qualitative case study investigated the equity pedagogy of three secondary mathematics student interns in an alternative teacher preparation program during their student teaching experience. The following research questions were also investigated: What school factors do the interns perceive to influence their decisions in implementing equity pedagogy? Which aspects of the teacher education program do the interns perceive to most influence their implementation of equity pedagogy? For the purpose of this study, equity pedagogy is defined as modifying instructional practices in order to facilitate the academic achievement of students from diverse racial, ethnic, and/or socioeconomic backgrounds by applying the components of Zeichner et al.'s (1998) curriculum and instruction principles specifically to the secondary mathematics classroom. Data collected through videotaped classroom observations, field notes, semistructured interviews, and examination of the participants’ reflective journals were analyzed and categorized as follows: building on prior knowledge, high expectations for diverse learners, knowing students well, culturally responsive pedagogical skills, critical consciousness, sharing of power, and multiple funds of knowledge. Data analysis showed evidence of all seven aspects of equity pedagogy by one or more of the participants, although they demonstrated these practices to varying degrees. Colorblindness, lack of appropriate mentors, time constraints, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Standards (NCTM, 2000), and culturally responsive pedagogical skills that had been modeled in their mathematics methods courses most affected the interns’ implementation of equity pedagogy. These results indicate that preservice teachers need a framework to critically reflect on issues of equity in education, time to develop equitable teaching practices, and teacher educators that go beyond didactic discussions of inequity to make explicit the equitable teaching practices they want their students to learn.

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