Date of Graduation

2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

College/School

School of Education

Department/Program

Learning and Instruction

First Advisor

Robert Burns

Second Advisor

Kevin Oh

Third Advisor

Caryl Hodges

Abstract

The field experience of a teacher education program offers the opportunity for authentic practice in lesson planning and instruction for preservice teachers prior to their transition into their teaching career. However, preservice teachers often struggle applying their developing knowledge and skills because of the multifaceted nature of the field experience context. This complexity is particularly true in mathematics instruction since it includes simultaneously understanding mathematical concepts and mathematical procedure standards during instruction.

This study used mini-case studies to examine how four preservice teachers used their developing mathematical knowledge learned in the teacher education program while lesson planning and teaching within the context of the culminating field experience. Data were collected about the preservice teachers' use of mathematical knowledge and the influence of personal background, prior mathematical knowledge, and the field experience context on their instructional choices. The instrumentation for data collection included two questionnaires, lesson plan analyses, interviews, observations, field notes, and student assessment.

The results from this study revealed that preservice teachers used their mathematical knowledge developed in the teacher education program during lesson planning and instruction at varying levels. One prevalent influence on lesson planning and instructional decisions was the learning needs of students. The most prominent influence on the preservice teachers was the mentor teachers' educational philosophies and perceptions that determined the amount and type of opportunities the preservice teachers had to practice instructional strategies. Two preservice teachers were observed comfortably using their mathematical knowledge and several instructional strategies after receiving encouragement and guidance from the mentor teachers. Two preservice teachers used their mathematical knowledge, but were limited in their use of instructional strategies by the mentor teachers.

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