Decision making in a mathematics reform context : factors influencing geometry teachers' planning and interactive decisions Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/dv13zw499

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  • This investigation of secondary geometry teachers' decision making in a mathematics curricular reform context examined the following questions: (a) What planning and interactive decisions were secondary geometry teachers making during this time of reform, and (b) what factors influenced the decisions that these teachers made? In addition, comparisons were generated between influential factors identified during a mathematics reform context and the stable context of previous decision making studies. A multi-case study approach involving detailed examination of five geometry teachers' decision making was used. The data collected and analyzed included a questionnaire, interviews, observational field notes, audiotapes and videotapes of classroom instruction, and written instructional documents. Teachers' profiles were created describing geometry and teaching biographies, views toward curricular change, the classroom, planning decisions and influential factors, and interactive decisions and influential factors. Findings were developed by searching for similarities and differences across the sample. Teachers' decisions generated descriptions of their geometry courses. One teacher promoted geometry as a mathematical system using predominantly a lecture approach. The other four teachers advocated a multifaceted view of geometry recognizing geometry as a mathematical system and as a setting for developing communication and problem solving skills. In addition, the four teachers' courses included references to connections between geometry and the real world. These four teachers used a variety of instructional approaches that encouraged students' active involvement in their geometry learning with an emphasis on developing student understanding. Factors influencing teachers' decisions included: (a) past geometry experiences, (b) professional development experiences, (c) articulated course goals, (d) advanced planning decisions, (e) teachers' beliefs, (f) the geometry textbook and other materials, (g) teachers' school settings, and (h) students' needs and actions. Some findings highlighted differences between this study and previous decision making studies. All teachers in this study appeared to be influenced by their beliefs about the nature of geometry as a discipline. Teachers were also influenced by whether they viewed the process of becoming an effective teacher as a life-long process. For four of the teachers, reform agendas were influential as another source of curriculum ideas.
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