Date of Award

8-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Teacher Education

Major Professor

P. Mark Taylor

Committee Members

Vena M. Long, JoAnn Cady, Jerzy Dydak

Abstract

Much research has been conducted in the past 25 years related to the teaching and learning of proof in Euclidean geometry. However, very little research has been done focused on preservice secondary school mathematics teachers’ notions of proof in Euclidean geometry. Thus, this qualitative study was exploratory in nature, consisting of four case studies focused on identifying preservice secondary school mathematics teachers’ current notions of proof in Euclidean geometry, a starting point for improving the teaching and learning of proof in Euclidean geometry.

The unit of analysis (i.e., participant) in each case study was a preservice mathematics teacher. The case studies were parallel as each participant was presented with the same Euclidean geometry content in independent interview sessions. The content consisted of six Euclidean geometry statements and a Euclidean geometry problem appropriate for a secondary school Euclidean geometry course. For five of the six Euclidean geometry statements, three justifications for each statement were presented for discussion. For the sixth Euclidean geometry statement and the Euclidean geometry problem, participants constructed justifications for discussion.

A case record for each case study was constructed from an analysis of data generated from interview sessions, including anecdotal notes from the playback of the recorded interviews, the review of the interview transcripts, document analyses of both previous geometry course documents and any documents generated by participants via assigned Euclidean geometry tasks, and participant emails. After the four case records were completed, a cross-case analysis was conducted to identify themes that traverse the individual cases.

From the analyses, participants’ current notions of proof in Euclidean geometry were somewhat diverse, yet suggested that an integration of justifications consisting of empirical and deductive evidence for Euclidean geometry statements could improve both the teaching and learning of Euclidean geometry.

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