Abstract

This study uses qualitative methods to investigate the use of writing in a content course for elementary education majors in which writing was considered an important part of mathematical learning. The study differs from previous studies by investigating the role of writing in the everyday instructional activities, rather than investigating writing as a separate mathematical activity. An analysis of the instruction and class discussions that took place in this class reveals that components of writing that were addressed implicitly and explicitly in classroom instruction were developed simultaneously with conceptual understanding, suggesting a much stronger and more integral relationship between writing and learning than the relationship that has been hypothesized by previous research. Furthermore, specific ways in which the class was structured seemed to support the development of students' written explanations. Appropriate explanations of particular concepts were modeled by both teacher and students, and explanations of mathematical concepts were developed gradually in a relatively consistent progression that paralleled the development of the concepts themselves. The findings of this study contribute to the field of research by helping to describe the relationship between writing and learning and by illuminating some of the ways in which both student learning and student writing are affected by classroom instruction.

Degree

MA

College and Department

Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Mathematics Education

Rights

http://lib.byu.edu/about/copyright/

Date Submitted

2005-07-14

Document Type

Thesis

Handle

http://hdl.lib.byu.edu/1877/etd940

Keywords

mathematics education, writing to learn, teacher education

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