In parallel with the role change, the character of the mathematics subject also changes. It goes from being a scientific discipline among students, lecturers and researchers at the university, to becoming a school subject in primary and secondary education, forming a basis for democratic citizenship and preparing for higher education.
PhD Candidate / Associate Professor
Kirsti Rø defends her PhD thesis ‘Developing an identity as a secondary school mathematics teacher: A narrative case study of three mathematics teachers in their transition from university teacher education to employment in school’ on Friday 13 April 2018.
In her research, she has followed three teacher education students in their transition from students to mathematics teachers in secondary school and seen how they construct an identity as mathematics teachers.
She has followed the PhD programme at the Faculty of Engineering and Science with specialisation in mathematics education and is the twentieth candidate in this specialisation.
Becoming a maths teacher involves a transition or a role change, from being a student and learning maths for your own benefit to becoming a teacher who facilitates learning in the subject.
In parallel with this role change, the character of the mathematics subject also changes. It goes from being a scientific discipline among students, lecturers and researchers at the university, to become a school subject in primary and secondary education, forming a basis for democratic citizenship and preparing for higher education.
The process of becoming a mathematics teacher thus involves changes in one's practices related to mathematics as well as changes in the role of the discipline of mathematics.
In my doctoral project, I have studied three mathematics teachers transitioning from mathematics teacher education at university to employment in a school. The participants in the study have their background in the five-year integrated science teacher training programme and in the one-year teacher education programme, and they have a minimum of 60 credits in mathematics. After completing their education, they taught in lower or upper secondary school.
Based on Etienne Wenger's theory of learning as participation in communities of practice, I have examined the identity formation of mathematics teachers as they transition from education to professional practice.
In addition to learning mathematics skills and learning about mathematics teaching, it includes developing an identity and changing who you are as a maths teacher. A prospective mathematics teacher will, through participation in various practice communities at the university and in school, have different views and perspectives on mathematics and the nature of mathematics. He or she will also develop an understanding of him or herself as a learner of mathematics and mathematics education.
The study is a longitudinal case study with a series of in-depth interviews distributed over their last year of education and their first year as mathematics teachers in school.
I present three comprehensive case studies of prospective maths teachers and their way into the mathematics teaching profession, focusing on their stories, or narratives, about mathematics and mathematics teaching.
By comparing the stories in a cross-case analysis, I have been able to work out two dimensions for developing an identity as a mathematics teacher: negotiated experiences of self and mathematics, and negotiated experiences of self and mathematics teaching.
The two dimensions span teachers' ways of identifying with the discipline of mathematics and its teaching, in addition to their descriptions of the negotiating space they experience in their mathematics studies at university and in their own mathematics education in school.
Awareness of one's own identity is a potential driver in the development of mathematics education. The study shows prospective teachers' different reasons for becoming maths teachers and their different emotional attachments to the maths subject.
The findings also reflect the varying degree of change in the transition from education to career debut, of their descriptions of mathematics and of what mathematics education can or should be.
In addition, the study provides a means in teacher education to be able to put into words and discuss different approaches to the mathematics teacher profession.
I argue that the three cases may help students in mathematics teaching reflect on their own identity and identity formation.
Further, mathematics teachers' awareness of their own identity can facilitate the exchange of different perspectives on learning and teaching in mathematics, it can initiate expectations of future professional practice and provide possible directions for identity development in school.
The candidate: Kirsti Rø (1986 in Trondheim). Secondary teacher education in sciences, with mathematics and physics, NTNU. Master’s in mathematics education (2010). Now works at the Department of Teacher Education at NTNU.
The trial lecture and public defence will take place in Arne Garborgs Auditorium (B1-006), Campus Kristiansand, Friday 13 April 2018.
Head of Department of Mathematical Sciences Elna Svege will chair the disputation.
Trial lecture at 10:30
Public defence at 12:30
Given topic for trial lecture: ‘Challenges associated with the transition from university mathematics teacher education to secondary school mathematics teaching: Analysis based on the mathematics education research literature’
Thesis title: ‘Developing an identity as a secondary school mathematics teacher: A narrative case study of three mathematics teachers in their transition from university teacher education to employment in school’
Search for the thesis in AURA - Agder University Research Archive, a digital archive of scientific papers, theses and dissertations from the academic staff and students at the University of Agder. The thesis will also be available at the University Library, and some copies will also be available for loan at the auditorium where the disputation takes place.
First opponent: Professor Ruhama Even, Weizman Institute of Science, Israel
Second opponent: Associate Professor Hanna Palmér, Linnæus University, Sweden
Associate Professor Hans Kristian Nilsen, University of Agder, is appointed as the administrator for the assessment committee.
Supervisors were Professor Martin Carlsen, University of Agder (main supervisor) and Professor Frode Rønning, NTNU (co-supervisor).