All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Jerry T Aldridge

Advisory Committee Members

Deborah Camp

Lynn Kirkland

Marryann Manning

Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2009

Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Education

Abstract

Professional development is intended to improve teaching practices. Every year school districts spend money sending teachers to professional development trainings. This study looked at a specific mathematics professional development training that took place in the southeastern United States during the summers of 2007 and 2008. This qualitative case study research study sought to answer the question: How do teachers describe their perceptions of how they implement what they learned in professional development into their teaching practices? The sub questions for this study were: 1) what elements of the professional development do teachers describe as being the most beneficial in helping them make changes in their teaching practices? 2) How do the teachers describe how the changes in their teaching practices have influenced their students' mathematical understanding? The researcher collected multiple sources of data: 1) focus group interview, 2) individual interviews, 3) e-mailed follow-up questions and clarifying questions and 4) the reviewed curriculum guides and math overviews for kindergarten and first grade. All of the data was complied and thoroughly reviewed to determine the four themes of this study. The four themes that were found during this study were: 1) purpose of math 2) resources 3) coaching and 4) team support. Team support and using wikis to support implementation were new findings in this study. This study found that training as a team provides teachers with a common language and bond that promotes change in their classroom practices. Also using wiki technology to provide resources, support and connection among teachers is extremely beneficial to teachers as they implement changes to their classroom practices. The findings of this study will hopefully provide direction for future research and help schools and districts review the importance of teachers attending professional development trainings with their peers.

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