Dissertations, Theses and Capstone Projects

Date of Award

Fall 2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Teacher Leadership (Ed.D)


Teacher Leadership for Learning

First Advisor

Dr. Mary Garner

Second Advisor

Dr. Amy Hillen

Third Advisor

Dr. Deborah Wallace


The purpose of this study is to contribute to existing research on classroom discourse by investigating whether a content-related comic that is closely linked to the learning task can stimulate mathematical discourse in a real high school classroom. To build a math-talk learning community and to analyze the effectiveness of content-related comics in eliciting student participation, I employed the combined theoretical frameworks consisting of a Hufferd-Ackles’ et al. (2004) math-talk learning community and Nathan and Knuth’s (2003) social and analytical scaffolding. The combined frameworks provided a multilevel analytical tool for studying classroom interactions. The results suggested that the content-related comic helped students to become more comfortable and independent in expressing their thinking during class discussion. Recommendation for practicing mathematics educators include: classroom teachers should be encouraged to partner with college level researchers to study mathematical discourse in the classroom, and pre-service and in-service teachers should learn and practice the skills and methods for successfully employing a whole-classroom discussion. Further research is needed to investigate the impact of content-related comic activity in a long term interaction with a more diverse population.