Date of Award

12-2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Education

Major Professor

Lynn L. Hodge

Committee Members

Vena Long, Gary Skolits, Barry Golden

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to understand preservice teachers’ identities in relation to mathematics teaching and the resources that contribute to these identities. Following a discourse-centered and situative perspective on identity development, the study utilized Sfard and Prusak’s (2005) identity as narrative framework, which conceptualizes identity as stories about people. This framework centers on two kinds of identity, actual and designated, which allow for analysis of individuals’ current identities and their expectations for the future. Nine members of a secondary mathematics education cohort who were completing a yearlong internship experience participated in the study. Data was collected through interviews and written reflections. For data analysis procedures, the overall principles of grounded theory were applied (Strauss & Corbin, 1990). By drawing from this approach, themes and relationships were generated through the participants’ stories. The themes related to identities for teaching were 1) Questioning as Increasing Student Participation, 2) Using Group Work, 3) The Challenges of Classroom Management, and 4) The Importance of Building Relationships with Students. The themes for common impactful resources were 1) Coursework and Readings Are Not Just Requirements, 2) Evaluators and Evaluation Models Matter, 3) Mentors as Significant Narrators, and 4) Critical Interactions with Students that Prompt Identity Shifts. In summary, the participants’ identities seemed to shape and be shaped by interactions with certain resources and their learning experiences with these resources. Through these resources their identities guided them to focus on particular aspects of being a teacher.

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