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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Amy Bingham Brown


This phenomenological study explored how college students’ perceptions of experiences with their secondary mathematics teachers affected their mathematical identities. The study was rooted in Wenger’s notion that learning is an experience of identity and Dewey’s theory that all experiences are inextricably linked to past and future experiences. Constructed narratives of eight college developmental mathematics students with high and low levels of mathematics anxiety were created from autobiographical essays and semistructured interviews. Analysis of the constructed narratives employed a deductive coding process using a priori themes related to experiences with secondary teachers and dimensions of mathematical identity.

The study answered three research questions: What kind of experiences did students recall having with their secondary mathematics teachers? How did students perceive that those experiences influenced their mathematical identities? What common student experiences positively or negatively affecting mathematical identity emerged from the data? Two general factors that affect student mathematical identity emerged from the research: student-teacher interactions and student-mathematics interactions. Interconnectivity existed between positive student-teacher relationships, meaningful student-mathematics interactions, and strong mathematical identities. Positive student-teacher relationships were foundational to the overall connection.



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