Date of Award

8-12-2009

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Middle-Secondary Education and Instructional Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Christine D. Thomas - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Desha L. Williams

Third Advisor

Dr. Janice Fournillier

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Lou Matthews

Fifth Advisor

Dr. Valerie A. Miller

Abstract

Despite some gains, improving secondary mathematics instruction remains an area of concern of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). Recitation, also known as lecturing, prevails as the practice of choice of mathematics teachers in the United States. However, the report of the NCTM Research Advisory Committee 2000 indicates that the mathematical proficiency of students increases when the practice of choice includes more than recitation. Therefore, changes in instruction in the mathematics classroom should occur to improve student learning. The purpose of this dissertation is to provide a personalized account of one mathematics teacher’s use of reflective teaching as an agent of change. This dissertation is about a journey of change in instruction fostered by a change of identity as a mathematics teacher. This dissertation chronicles the identity construction of the teacher. This study has relevance because the process utilized by the teacher provides a method of self-examination and identity construction for other mathematics classroom teachers who want to improve their practices. This study also has relevance because it describes the process of how a classroom teacher takes ownership of self-improvement. This qualitative dissertation uses autoethnography as the methodology. Autoethnography is research, writing and story where the researcher is the subject and the researcher’s experiences are the data (Ellis and Bochner 2000). The theoretical frame for this autoethnography is identity theory as it relates to teacher identity construction. Memory, videotaped lessons, student commentary and a reflective journal serve as supporting data sources to render narratives detailing the findings. The research question guiding this dissertation is: In what ways does a teacher’s reflection on mathematics practice facilitate teacher identity construction and change of practice? The findings show that a teacher’s identity can be interwoven by many characteristics that at times work simultaneously. The findings also indicate that changing one’s practices is an arduous process but can be accomplished and the process given “voice.”

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