Kindergarten Teachers' Mathematics Teaching Cycle: Attending to Issues of Culture and Student Understanding

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Title: Kindergarten Teachers' Mathematics Teaching Cycle: Attending to Issues of Culture and Student Understanding
Author: Edgington, Cynthia Page
Advisors: Dr. Allison McCulloch, Committee Chair
Dr. Hollylynne Lee, Committee Member
Dr. Patricia Marshall, Committee Member
Dr. Ronald Fulp, Committee Member
Abstract: The purpose of this study is to examine the mathematics teaching cycle of two kindergarten teachers who took part in a professional development project that promoted culturally relevant pedagogy and teaching mathematics for understanding. The study aims to address the lack of research with respect to how teaching mathematics for understanding and attending to students’ cultural backgrounds can effectively be incorporated into teachers’ lesson planning practices. The present study also examines if and how the teachers’ enacted math lessons are consistent with the ideologies associated with culturally relevant pedagogy and teaching for understanding. The participants for this study were two kindergarten teachers in North Carolina who participated for one year in a three-year professional development project called Nurturing Mathematics Dreamkeepers. The data consisted of a lesson planning interview, a lesson planning observation, video-taped math lessons, and a post-lesson reflective session. The conceptual framework for this study considers Simon’s (1995) mathematics teaching cycle as a way to describe the planning and teaching process. Within the mathematics teaching cycle, Ladson-Billings’ (1995a) tenets of culturally relevant pedagogy and Hiebert, et al.’s (1997) dimensions of classrooms that support teaching for understanding are both used as a lens to examine the participants’ teaching cycles. The findings from this study suggest that the teachers attend to many things during their lesson planning, including the learning objective, classroom activities and their students’ backgrounds. Some aspects of their enacted lessons were consistent with the ideologies associated with culturally relevant pedagogy and teaching for understanding. The teachers exhibited high academic expectations for all students and provided contexts that are meaningful for their students. Although the teachers encouraged their students to develop their own strategies for solving problems, they did not value all of the strategies suggested by their students. Overall, some aspects of CRP and teaching for understanding were evident in the teachers’ lesson planning observation and in their enacted lessons. If a goal of mathematics instruction is to increase student understanding in a learning environment that is accessible to all students and where academic success is experienced by all students, the mathematics education community can learn from studies such as this how to make this goal a reality.
Date: 2008-12-04
Degree: MS
Discipline: Mathematics Education
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/1188


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