Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Middle and Secondary Education

First Advisor

Caroline C. Sullivan, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Pier Angeli Junor Clarke, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Stephanie Behm Cross, Ph.D.


The purpose of this study is to better understand high school students’ perceptions of caring instruction and mathematical struggles through a narrative inquiry. Lakewood High School (pseudonym) – a large, socioeconomically and racially diverse school in the southeastern United States – was chosen conveniently yet purposefully as the site of study. The participants were three 11th grade students who have experiences with both caring instruction and mathematical struggles. Data collection included intense and highly relational co-creation of stories by the researcher and participants through conversational interviews, researcher memory recreations, artifact analysis, and other writings introduced throughout the conversations.

This narrative inquiry allows for an alignment between the ethic of care (Noddings, 1984) and Deweyan experience (1938) that manifests itself through the lived experiences of the researcher and the participants. This narrative inquiry will begin to fill the gap that exists between student and teacher perceptions of caring mathematics instruction.