Dissertations, Theses and Capstone Projects

Date of Award

Spring 5-2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Teacher Leadership (Ed.D)


Teacher Leadership for Learning

First Advisor

Wendy B. Sanchez

Second Advisor

Alice W. Terry

Third Advisor

Sarah Ledford


Mathematics reform efforts advocate the use of discourse as a method toward mathematical learning. Research also suggests that attention be placed on prospective teachers’ development of content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge. One way to develop teacher knowledge and discourse skills of prospective teachers is to engage them in purposeful discourse that focuses on mathematical knowledge for teaching. The purpose of this study was to examine the discourse of prospective mathematics teachers in a graduate mathematics methods course. Theories of communication developed a framework for analyzing discourse. Theories on teacher knowledge formed a framework for analyzing the types of teacher knowledge the prospective teachers encountered. Additional theories of self-efficacy and motivation were utilized to conceptualize the factors that affected discourse. A single case study was used to examine the discourse of seven prospective teachers in their initial mathematics methods course along with their professor. Data were collected during three class meetings. Discussions were recorded, field notes gathered, documents collected, and writing prompts completed. Interviews were conducted with three prospective teachers through electronic mail. Inductive analysis was used to analyze the data. Findings indicate that teacher knowledge is separated into two entities and different characteristics exist. Mathematical discourse resembled traditional classroom discourse containing uni-directional communication, low cognitive questioning, and low levels of engagement. Pedagogical discourse exhibited contributory communication, open-ended questioning, and higher levels of engagement. Teacher knowledge during pedagogical discourse focused on general teacher pedagogy and operational issues. There were not opportunities for mathematical pedagogical knowledge development. Implications for practice include increased focus on development of discourse skills, and increased attention to the development of pedagogical content knowledge. Implications for research include the examination of expectations of prospective teachers and factors that contribute to the development of mathematical self-efficacy.