EXAMINING SECONDARY MATHEMATICS TEACHER CANDIDATES’ LEARNING AND ENACTMENT OF MATHEMATICS TEACHING PRACTICES: A MULTIPLE CASE STUDY
Grosser-Clarkson, Dana Lynn
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This qualitative case study explored three teacher candidates’ learning and enactment of discourse-focused mathematics teaching practices. Using audio and video recordings of their teaching practice this study aimed to identify the shifts in the way in which the teacher candidates enacted the following discourse practices: elicited and used evidence of student thinking, posed purposeful questions, and facilitated meaningful mathematical discourse. The teacher candidates’ written reflections from their practice-based coursework as well as interviews were examined to see how two mathematics methods courses influenced their learning and enactment of the three discourse focused mathematics teaching practices. These data sources were also used to identify tensions the teacher candidates encountered. All three candidates in the study were able to successfully enact and reflect on these discourse-focused mathematics teaching practices at various time points in their preparation programs. Consistency of use and areas of improvement differed, however, depending on various tensions experienced by each candidate. Access to quality curriculum materials as well as time to formulate and enact thoughtful lesson plans that supported classroom discourse were tensions for these teacher candidates. This study shows that teacher candidates are capable of enacting discourse-focused teaching practices early in their field placements and with the support of practice-based coursework they can analyze and reflect on their practice for improvement. This study also reveals the importance of assisting teacher candidates in accessing rich mathematical tasks and collaborating during lesson planning. More research needs to be explored to identify how specific aspects of the learning cycle impact individual teachers and how this can be used to improve practice-based teacher education courses.