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Title: Pedagogical discourses and subjectivities in primary mathematics initial teacher education
Author: Alderton, Julie
Awarding Body: University of Roehampton
Current Institution: University of Roehampton
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis examines students’ experiences of learning to teach mathematics as they complete a primary Postgraduate Certificate in Education to gain qualified teacher status. The research data are drawn from students’ accounts of learning to teach mathematics, which include email communications during their studies and interviews with eight students at the end of the course. Analysis is informed by post-structuralist feminist understandings of discourse, power and knowledge. These tools are used to explore the complexities of learning to teach, the ways in which beginning teachers are ‘produced’, what counts as mathematics and the effects of power relations within pedagogical encounters. I use a reflexive approach to methodology, acknowledging the ways in which my own subjectivity permeates the enquiry, and the ways in which power permeates the research process. The study found performances of gender in students’ accounts of their experiences of the course, both on campus and in schools. Dominant discourses of teaching and mathematics create tensions for students and act as a form of control and categorisation as they strive to be recognised as legitimate mathematics teachers. It is argued that students’ subjectivities are shaped by discursive practices and peer and pedagogical relationships in the context of the course and that students are constituted as mathematical subjects often in inequitable ways. They are both powerful and powerless in different instances as they take up competing discourses, positioning themselves and their peers in shifting locations. Some students are silenced, categorised and marginalised within discourses of mathematics. Most report complying with the established practices of the school and class teacher and focused on the struggle to achieve legitimacy as successful student teachers. They 2 demonstrate both compliance with and resistance to dominant discourses as they are caught between the tensions and inconsistencies of competing and conflicting discourses. A key implication of this study is that teachers, teacher educators and student teachers need opportunities to explore their own gendered subjectivities as learners and teachers and to acknowledge that learning to teach mathematics is not solely a cognitive endeavour but one deeply located in social relations and contexts. Within teacher education more spaces need to be opened up to enable student teachers to embody themselves as mathematics subjects and primary teachers differently.
Supervisor: Burke, Penny Jane ; Read, Barbara Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Pedagogical discourses ; Initial teacher education ; Primary mathematics