Transformation from Developmental Mathematics Student to Mathematics Teacher: Narratives of Adult Learning Experiences
Wright, Gary L.
MetadataShow full item record
The purpose of this study was to gain a better understanding of the experiences of developmental mathematics students who, after successful completion of their developmental courses, chose a career in teaching and to gain a better understanding of how those experiences helped shape their decision to go forward with a career in mathematics education. With the intention of exploring the text and the context of the experiences of former developmental mathematics students as they have reflected on them and storied them so as to make meaning of them, I determined that a qualitative methodology was indicated; and the qualitative method selected was narrative analysis. Altogether 13 respondents met the criteria and were interviewed. Interviews conducted during the spring and early summer of 2008 were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed for data relevant to the goals of this study. Analysis revealed that developmental mathematics students not only have the capacity to become competent students but they have the potential of becoming outstanding teachers and scholars. This potential is closely tied to affective qualities, such as self-efficacy, which are often profoundly impacted and enhanced by a teacher or mentor. The developmental student who has chosen a career in education frequently views the teacher/mentor as (i) a role model who he/she desires to emulate thereby extending that profound impact, and/or as (ii) a hero for whom future endeavors are viewed as a form of payback. The narratives also revealed that women developmental students typically had greater struggles and difficulties in meeting their educational goals because they bore the responsibility for caring for children and, in most cases, for their family?s financial support. Areas of study that warrant further investigation were uncovered while doing this research and include (i) an identification of teaching methodologies that both enhance mathematics capability and also bring a greater self-awareness of the increased capability, (ii) a determination of the impact of faculty/institutional behaviors and attitudes on adult developmental mathematics students who dropped out of their programs and did not complete their college education, (iii) the characteristics of the educational experiences of single mothers who passed through developmental mathematics and on to the teaching profession, and (iv) a deeper understanding of the teacher recruitment potential of cooperative learning groups, tutoring centers, and supplemental instruction.