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Date of Award

5-2010

Document Type

Campus Access

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Education

First Advisor

Gretchen Rossman

Second Advisor

Cristine Smith

Third Advisor

Sharon Rallis

Subject Categories

Science and Mathematics Education | Teacher Education and Professional Development

Abstract

This study explores the process of planning, implementing, and following-up teacher professional development programs (TPDPs) in Palestine focusing on the programs that are directed to mathematics teachers. It also describes teachers', supervisors, principals', and policy makers' beliefs about mathematics and mathematics teaching and learning, and the beliefs that TPDPs have about mathematics teaching and learning.

The study used qualitative methods, including interviews and document analysis, to collect data. The participants were chosen from two district areas in West Bank and included five policy makers, eight supervisors and training developers, four principals, and six teachers. In addition to interviews, training materials and policy documents related to teacher training and supervision were studied for the purpose of this study. The data obtained from these documents integrated and validated the data which were collected through the interviews.

The findings of the study suggest the necessity to improve the methods used in teacher training in a way that activates the role of the trainee teachers and reflects the content of the training in the process of teacher training. In addition, there is a need to provide teachers with better follow-up methods through and after their participation in TPDPs. Most importantly, TPDPs should be based on a clear vision of their objectives that is based on understanding the problems in student learning and current teaching practices as well as the desired behaviors and actions that help to mitigate problems.

The findings also indicated that most of the participants hold the instrumental view of mathematics where mathematics is viewed as a body of facts and procedures. Furthermore, their views about mathematics teaching and learning and the curriculum correspond with the instrumental view or with the content-focused approach in teaching mathematics.

The researcher concluded that there should be more emphasis on TPDPs that are planned on the district and schools level or what is called job-embedded professional programs. In parallel, trainers' competences should be upgraded so that they are more able to respond to teachers' needs in their contexts. Improving the way in which TPDPs is planned and implemented will have a greater influence on teachers' beliefs and practices.

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