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Author ORCID Identifier



Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Kathleen Davis

Second Advisor

Linda Griffin

Third Advisor

Eric Sommers

Subject Categories

Curriculum and Instruction | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Methods


The mathematics reform movement has not had a significant or lasting impact on the practice of teachers and learning of students throughout the country (Boylan, 2010, Kazemi & Stipek, 2001). Students are not developing the types of skills critical thinking skills needed to solve problems in mathematics. Research suggests a need for structural changes that include providing opportunities for students to develop more autonomy and authority in the mathematics classroom (Cuban, 2013). To meet these challenges, teachers and students must make significant changes to implement instruction that fulfills this demand. This expectation has left teachers struggling to determine essential changes and how to implement them. Although educators have begun to use discourse practices as a means for advancing understanding, how and why they do so is unclear. The purpose of this descriptive case study is to identify the discourse practices used by two elementary teachers and their students as they solve problems together in mathematics. A description of the dynamic interactions occurring among members in the classroom community of practice will be included (Lave and Wenger, 1991). Furthermore, the aim of the study is to describe specific discourse strategies that are used by teachers and students to support the building of understanding involving the mathematics concepts and skills being studied. Moreover, specific discourse strategies will be described, detailing the level of complexity of these methods. This study will include a focused investigation the on the spot decision making of classroom teachers and their students as they engage with one another while identifying strategies and solutions and to articulate meaning with one another. The results will inform policymakers and educators by providing greater insight into the discourse strategies used to effectively facilitate student discussions while learning mathematics in a community of practice.