Dissertations, Theses and Capstone Projects

Date of Award

Summer 8-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Teacher Leadership (Ed.D)


Teacher Leadership for Learning

First Advisor

Dr. Wendy Sanchez

Second Advisor

Dr. Alice Terry

Third Advisor

Dr. Angela Blaver


How do mathematics teachers in high performing schools perceive professional learning? Although mathematics teachers often find themselves in a variety of professional learning opportunities offered by their schools or school systems, research has narrowly focused on mathematics teachers’ behaviors, feedback, or professional learning outcomes within specific contexts. The present study explored mathematics teachers’ beliefs and attitudes toward professional learning through a multi-site case study. The researcher selected seven mathematics teachers from two high performing high school settings and captured their perspectives of professional learning through photographs that were later discussed during Photo Elicitation Interviews. The researcher also elicited participants’ reflections of professional learning though Professional Learning Journals and postings on a Professional Learning Discussion Board. Participants’ attitudes towards professional learning and positions of intellectual development were explored for common themes throughout the study. The researcher presented Professional Learning Profiles for each participant that detailed the participant’s unique views of the following: (a) perspectives of teaching and learning mathematics, (b) career goals and professional learning goals, (c) processes by which they learn to teach mathematics, and (d) positive and negative professional learning experiences. Commonalities among the participants’ learning processes were connected to a Professional Learning Sequence, and themes of relevance, professional learning contexts, participants’ valuation of time, and professional learning resources were also discussed. The findings suggest that teachers’ interactions with others throughout the professional learning process are influenced by their intellectual development stage and their philosophies of teaching mathematics. Additionally, professional learning structures that frame how, when, and where mathematics teachers learn substantially contributed to how teachers collaborated with one another. Further implications for research and practice are also discussed.