Term of Award

Summer 2008

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Gregory Chamblee

Committee Member 1

Stephen Jenkins

Committee Member 2

Dan Rea

Committee Member 3

Sharon Taylor

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship of mathematics teachers beliefs regarding the nature of mathematics and their classroom learning environment in Roberts County (fictional). The study investigated 165 kindergarten through twelfth grade mathematics teachers that taught at least one segment of mathematics a day. The researcher administered three surveys: the Teacher Beliefs Survey (developed by Beswick, 2005), the Constructivist Learning Environment Survey (developed by Taylor, Fraser, and Fisher, 1997) and a demographics survey to mathematics teachers at 35 schools. Data analysis included calculating the sub-scale means of each survey, a Pearson correlation, and Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). Data analysis found that Roberts County mathematics teachers held beliefs consistent with a problem-solving (or student-centered) view of mathematics however they were undecided (did not agree or disagree) with the instrumentalists' view of mathematics. Teachers favored a classroom environment that allowed students to communicate about mathematics and to express their concerns about their own learning. Teachers' beliefs about the nature of mathematics and their classroom learning environment were found to be statistically, positively significant with regard to the problem-solving view of mathematics (TBS sub-scale) and the CLES subscales. Elementary, middle, and high school teachers' beliefs differed. Elementary teachers were more likely to have problem-solving oriented beliefs and had classrooms which supported a constructivist learning environment. Elementary teachers supported mathematics by making connections to mathematics outside of school, encouraging students to communicate about mathematics, providing a safe learning environment that allowed students to express concerns about their learning and to share control of their learning. Recommendations to further Roberts Countys mathematics teachers towards a more problem-solving and constructivist classroom learning environments are guided by the ideals of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics publications and the Georgia Performance Standards for mathematics.

Share

COinS