Date of Award

Spring 5-13-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Middle and Secondary Education

First Advisor

Dr. Christine D. Thomas

Second Advisor

Dr. Natalie King

Third Advisor

Dr. Nickolaus Ortiz

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Pier Junor Clarke


This qualitative case study was a means to examine the experiences of novice mathematics teachers as they progressed through the implementation cycle of action research in their graduate coursework and the subsequent effects of the experiences on their teaching practices during their clinical experience. An action research course for novice mathematics teachers can help them develop the pedagogical skills they need to succeed in their classrooms (Ulvik, 2014). Despite a wealth of literature on action research, there has been little study of how the experiences in an action research course can influence the teaching practices of novice secondary mathematics teachers during their coursework and clinical experience. Kolb’s experiential learning theory and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics’ eight effective teaching practices served as the conceptual underpinnings for this study. The research questions were: (a) How do the experiences in an action research course influence the teaching practices of mathematics teachers? and (b) How do the action research experiences align with Kolb’s experiential learning theory? Four novice secondary mathematics teachers in a master’s degree program participated in this study. Data collection included interviews, observations, lesson plans, participants’ journals, synchronous discussions, action research proposals, digital dossiers, a survey, and the action research syllabus. Qualitative data analysis of the journals, synchronous discussions, literature reviews, and action plans resulted in three themes: (a) engagement in action research cultivated novice mathematics teachers’ sense of community and collaboration for sharing effective strategies that became evident in their classroom instruction, (b) exploring and unpacking scholarly literature through action research strengthened the pedagogical content knowledge of novice mathematics teachers and promoted their use of evidence-based practices, and (c) reflective journaling in action research resulted in novice mathematics teachers having the capacity to assess the effects of their teaching on student learning. These themes describe the influence of the action research experiences on the teaching practices of novice mathematics teachers. The findings show that an action research course embedded in a teacher preparation program during the coursework and clinical experience can positively impact the teaching practices of novice mathematics teachers.


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