Graduation Year

2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Secondary Education

Major Professor

Gladis Kersaint

Keywords

Collaboration, Community of Practice, Higher Education, Professional Development, Situated Learning, Teacher Education

Abstract

In recent years, experts and organizations involved in mathematics education have emphasized the importance of collaboration between mathematicians and mathematics teacher educators as a means of improving the professional preparation of mathematics teachers. While several such collaborative endeavors have been documented in the extant literature, most research reports have focused on the products, rather than the process, of collaboration. The purpose of this interpretative phenomenological case study is to gain an understanding of the lived experiences of a mathematician and a mathematics teacher educator as they engaged in a team-teaching collaboration within the context of prospective secondary mathematics teacher preparation. Participants in this study are a mathematician (Dejan) and a mathematics teacher educator (Angela) who worked together to plan, implement, and assess prospective secondary mathematics teachers enrolled in a mathematics content course (Geometry) and a mathematics methods course (Teaching Senior High School Mathematics).

I employed interpretative phenomenological analysis (Smith, Flowers, & Larkin, 2009) as the methodological framework. Consequently, I attempted to make sense of Dejan and Angela's experiences as they engaged in active reflection on those experiences. I also utilized the situated learning perspective (Lave and Wenger, 1991; Wenger, 1998) as a theoretical lens to guide the design and interpretation of this study. I assumed that learning, meaning, and understanding are situated in communities of practice, and therefore, to understand the meaning-making of Dejan and Angela during their team-teaching experiences, I paid particular attention to their understandings and identities as members of their respective communities of practice in mathematics and mathematics education.

The themes that emerged from my analysis illustrate (a) how crossing community boundaries led to Dejan and Angela's increased awareness of their practice, (b) the roles of coach and student taken on by Angela and Dejan throughout the collaboration in an effort to increase Dejan's awareness of the needs of PSMTs, and (c) the influence of mutuality as a driving force in the instructors' collaborative experiences. In using the situated learning perspective as an interpretive lens to describe and explain Dejan and Angela's meaning-making throughout their collaboration, I demonstrate (a) the importance of the dual processes of participation and reification to facilitate learning and meaning between instructors, (b) the ways in which a lack of shared history can hinder communication between collaborators, (c) the influence of a community's "regime of mutual accountability" on collaborators' decision making and interactions, and (d) the value and complexities of brokering and crossing boundaries.