Date of Graduation

2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

College/School

School of Education

Department

Learning and Instruction

Program

Learning & Instruction EdD

First Advisor

Peter Willamson

Second Advisor

Hilda Borko

Third Advisor

Mathew Mitchell

Fourth Advisor

Nicola McClung

Abstract

In this dissertation, I studied teacher education reform efforts aimed at improving the preparation of preservice teachers through the use of rehearsals in a math methods class. As many experts in the field of teacher education call for curricula in which preservice teachers learn from and in practice, I investigated a type of pedagogy called rehearsals within a practice-based teacher education setting that may afford preservice teachers with the initial preparation needed to become effective teachers.

In this qualitative study, I examined how three preservice teachers and math methods instructors rehearse the high leverage practice of leading a whole-class discussion. I followed the preservice teachers into the field to document how they enacted the discussion in their student teaching placements. Additionally, I explored the connections between preservice teacher rehearsals of high leverage practices and enactment of those high leverage practices in the field. Ultimately, the goal of this study was to understand how rehearsals in a math methods course shaped the development of the preservice teacher's high leverage practices and link theories learned in the university with practice in the field. The results from this study are based on video analysis of rehearsal and fieldwork enactments and interviews with the preservice teachers.

Findings from this study indicate that there was substantial variation in the three preservice teachers' opportunities to practice key aspects of leading a whole-class discussion, the type of feedback they received from the instructors, and the authenticity of the rehearsal. The alignment between content, pedagogical purpose, and the rehearsal activity provided certain opportunities for the preservice teachers to learn about leading a whole-class discussion. Further, the alignment, or in some cases, lack thereof, likely impacted the authenticity of the preservice teachers' rehearsals and the subsequent enactments in the field. Findings suggest that the quality of the rehearsals influenced the generative nature of the preservice teachers' enactments of a whole-class discussion in their student teaching placements. If rehearsals provide opportunities for preservice teachers to deeply investigate high leverage practices and receive precise feedback on the relational aspects of teaching, they will likely be prepared for the complexities of teaching.

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