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Title:First Year in Front of the Class: The Development of Beginning Elementary School Mathematics Teachers in China
Author(s):Zhou, Xiaobin
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Kevin Miller
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Mathematics
Abstract:Learning to teach is an intensive and prolonged process. Teachers' preparation and continuing learning during their early career is critical for their professional development. My dissertation studies investigate the preparation and growth of beginning mathematics teachers in China during their first year of practice. First, two studies were conducted to depict the representations of the career of teaching by general public and by popular press. In the first study, prospective teachers, in-service teachers, parents, and college students wrote terms describing the profession of elementary school teachers. Analysis of the terms showed similarity in prospective teachers' and in-service teachers' perception of the career of teaching. In the second study, newspaper articles related to "teachers" or "teaching" from three popular presses were collected, each for approximately a month. The categorization of the articles showed a focus on teacher qualification and training and potential influence of news coverage on prospective teachers' perceptions of teaching. A report of the background and current status of pre-service teacher training in China followed. In the second part, two observational studies were conducted to examine beginning teachers' early practice, development, and their learning experiences in their work environment. In the first study, lessons taught by seven pairs of beginning teachers and experienced teachers were videotaped at the beginning of new teachers' first year of teaching. Another lesson taught by each new teacher was videotaped again at the end of the same academic year. Interviews were conducted at both times. Analyses of discourse patterns during instruction showed that beginning teachers' lack of proficiency was reflected in their less effective questioning techniques which evidently improved over their first year of teaching. In the second study, teachers' daily activities were observed. Formal and informal learning opportunities at beginning teachers' work environments were summarized. Availability of support, experience of observing and listening to expert commentary on lesson processes, and a type of deliberate practice composed important resources for beginning teachers' learning. Implications of these findings for understanding characteristics of novice teaching and for improving and constructing teacher training and professional development in the United States are discussed.
Issue Date:2006
Description:187 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2006.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3223767
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2006

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