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Theses Doctoral

Good Mathematics Teaching: Perspectives of Beginning Secondary Teachers

Leong, Kwan Eu

What is good mathematics teaching? The answer depends on whom you are asking. Teachers, researchers, policymakers, administrators, and parents usually provide their own view on what they consider is good mathematics teaching and what is not. The purpose of this study was to determine how beginning teachers define good mathematics teaching and what they report as being the most important attributes at the secondary level. This research explored whether there was a relationship between the demographics of the participants and the attributes of good teaching. In addition, factors that influence the understanding of good mathematics teaching were explored. A mixed methodology was used to gather information from the research participants regarding their beliefs and classroom practices of good mathematics teaching. The two research instruments used in this study were the survey questionnaire and a semi-structured interview. Thirty-three respondents who had one to two years of classroom experience comprised the study sample. They had graduated from a school of education in an eastern state and had obtained their teacher certification upon completing their studies. The beginning mathematics teachers selected these four definitions of good teaching as their top choices: 1) have High Expectations that all students are capable of learning; 2) have strong content knowledge (Subject Matter Knowledge); 3) create a Learning Environment that fosters the development of mathematical power; and 4) bring Enthusiasm and excitement to classroom. The three most important attributes in good teaching were: Classroom Management, Motivation, and Strong in Content Knowledge. One interesting finding was the discovery of four groups of beginning teachers and how they were associated with specific attributes of good mathematics teaching according to their demographics. Beginning teachers selected Immediate Classroom Situation, Mathematical Beliefs, Pedagogical Content Knowledge, and Colleagues as the top four factors from the survey analysis that influenced their understanding of good mathematics teaching. The study's results have implications for informing the types of mathematical knowledge required for pre-service teachers that can be incorporated into teacher education programs and define important attributes of good mathematics teaching during practicum.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Mathematics Education
Thesis Advisors
Karp, Alexander
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
March 11, 2013