Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Todd Lilly


This paper addresses the problem of practice that secondary mathematics students do not feel confident in communicating mathematically. The researcher has placed an emphasis on math language by using a systemic functional linguistic approach to teaching mathematics. Building student confidence and engagement in mathematics is the main focus of the methods presented in this action research study. The researcher wants to investigate how systemic functional linguistics and gradual release of responsibility affects student self-efficacy and engagement in secondary mathematics. A mixedmethods design uses researcher field notes, student surveys and interviews, and student work to examine the levels of self-efficacy and engagement among students in the researcher's classroom. Preliminary findings show that students initially resisted SFL approaches, but gained more confidence as the study progressed. Student responses indicate that GRR strategies aided in building self-efficacy. The researcher includes reflections and implications for future research so that the study can be replicated by other educators.