Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2017

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Teaching and Learning

First Advisor

Kyong Mi Choi


Recent research shows that teachers’ level of Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching (MKT) and their beliefs about teaching and learning effect teaching practices and student achievement. Higher levels of MKT typically lead to more effective teaching abilities in terms of helping students make meaning of mathematical concepts, but beliefs seem to be a mediating factor in this relationship. One specific teaching practice that can help guide students through this meaning making is questioning. Although it is known that MKT and beliefs play an important role in outcomes of teacher practices, the effects of these factors on teachers’ ability to ask meaningful questions have not yet been explored. This mixed methods study uses descriptive data of teachers’ questioning patterns with a cross-case analysis of five elementary mathematics teachers to investigate how the nature of elementary teachers’ questioning changes between procedural and conceptual mathematics lessons, and how teachers’ level of MKT and their beliefs about teaching and learning aid in or inhibit their ability to ask questions that engage students in mathematical reasoning and sense making. High levels of alignment with rule-based beliefs about teaching mathematics were found to be a major inhibitor to teachers’ ability to ask meaningful questions in the classroom. While high MKT is helpful in creating reasoning-based dialogue in the classroom, high rule-based beliefs limit the potential effects of high MKT on teacher questioning practices. Relationships between MKT, beliefs, and questioning are further dissected, and implications for teacher development efforts are discussed.


Beliefs, Mathematics, MKT, Questioning


ix, 111 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 101-108).


Copyright © 2017 Jessica L. Jensen