Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Curriculum & Instruction


Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

Speaker, Richard

Second Advisor

Bedford-Whatley, April

Third Advisor

Gifford, Charles

Fourth Advisor

Longstreet, Wilma

Fifth Advisor

Germaine-McCarthy, Yvelyne


The purpose of this study was to ascertain pre-service teachers' perceptions of the defining aspects of a mathematics methods course that aided in the development of a conceptual understanding of mathematics. These perceptions emerge from the narratives of four pre-service teachers in a mid-size metropolitan university in the southeastern part of the United States. Grounded in the theory of constructivism this study focuses on the educational experiences of pre-service teachers, as reported by pre-service teachers, creating a portrait of their journey. These pre-service teachers' learning experiences were based on national standards with a constructivist instructional approach and included field experience in a school environment. Analysis of the data revealed that pre-service teachers attributed their increase in conceptual understanding of mathematics to 'touching/doing activities' that required them to 'explain why'. Use of models and manipulatives aided in helping the pre-service teachers verify and justify their solutions to others, providing concrete items to use in explaining abstract concepts. Ultimately, requiring pre-service to explain their own thought processes, with and without manipulatives, aided them in developing a conceptual understanding of mathematics.


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