First Year and Beyond: Beginning Primary School Teachers and Teaching Mathematics

Judith Geeves

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

The most important single factor in determining the quality of
students’ mathematical learning is what the teacher does in the
classroom—their classroom practice. Therefore, supporting the
development of beginning primary school teachers’ mathematical
classroom practice is an important part of the wider national agenda
to increase the mathematical outcomes for all Australian school
students.

This study explores how various personal and school factors
influence the development of mathematical classroom practice in
beginning teachers over the first few years of their teaching careers.
As such, it provides a greater understanding of this process, which,
in turn, will assist those responsible for facilitating beginning teacher
development to provide appropriate support at the appropriate time,
based on the identified needs of the beginning teacher.

This is a mixed method, longitudinal study that is primarily concerned
with investigating the social, or lived, reality of beginning primary
school teachers in the first years of their teaching career. As such, a
research design was formulated that incorporated the following data
collection techniques: surveys, semi-structured interviews,
mathematics testing and classroom observations. The data collected
were then analysed and used to generate individual case stories of
the development of beginning primary school teachers as teachers of
mathematics.

This study identified links between beginning teacher confidence,
school context and classroom practice and how schools can use
these understandings to better support the mathematical
development of beginning primary school teachers. It also identified
that there needs to be a greater focus on the rigor of mathematical
content in school and classroom programs, professional
development, planning discussions, activity selection, lesson
evaluations and student assessment in order for beginning teachers to develop as effective teachers of primary mathematics
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Charles Sturt University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Lowrie, Tom, Principal Supervisor, External person
Award date01 Dec 2014
Place of PublicationAustralia
Publisher
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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