Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Thomas Hodges


This case study documents the perceived influences on three novice elementary teachers’ use of concrete representations for teaching mathematics. In order to develop mathematical proficiency, students need access to a variety of representations (i.e. pictures, words, symbols, concrete materials, and real world contexts) to make sense of mathematical ideas. Three sources of data were collected: video-recorded lessons, interviews, and a focus group. Analyses indicated that although concrete representations were accessible to all three teachers, they were least used among the available representations. Verbal expression was most prominent, followed closely by abstract written symbols. Technology, which was not one of the mathematical representations reported, appeared regularly during observations and interviews. Although participating teachers shared similar pre-service experiences in relation to their coursework and internship, there were substantive differences between them in relation to how they viewed adopted standards documents, interacted with colleagues, perceived their students, and perceived district involvement. All three participants expressed concerns related to instructional time, and that district-led professional development was not helpful in supporting the use of concrete representations. The implications in this study are that 1) technology is becoming more visible in classrooms as one form of mathematical representation, and 2) issues relating to CCSSM such as textbook adoption and professional development are considerations impacting instructional practices.


© 2014, Elizabeth Lee Johnson

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