Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Curriculum & Instruction/Literacy Studies

Committee Chair

Johnna Bolyard

Committee Co-Chair

Matthew Campbell

Committee Member

Malayna Bernstein

Committee Member

Melissa Luna

Committee Member

Sarah Selmer


Although the work of teaching is often considered universally straightforward, professional classroom teaching requires more than a teacher’s ability to complete a task; making students’ ideas central to classroom discussions is crucial to student learning. The ability to engage students in classroom discussions focused on student ideas is not innate; it must be developed. Thus, it is important for teacher candidates (TCs) to learn to focus class discussions on student ideas in the university setting, before becoming classroom teachers. This dissertation investigates the ways in which secondary mathematics TCs developed skill in responsive teaching—teaching in which teachers adapt their instruction based on attention to students’ ideas—in a methods course. The TCs in this study participated in cycles of investigation and enactment, focused around coached rehearsals of instructional activities (IAs) chosen to allow a focus on responsive teaching practices—core practices of teaching that have responsive teaching as their focus. In addition to investigating TCs’ responsive teaching in methods, this study also examined how coaching in methods affected TCs’ responsive teaching. Each TC also enacted one IA in a school setting, which allowed for a consideration of the extent to which TCs taught responsively in school settings, as compared to the university setting. Previous methods course designs, both from the literature and a pilot study, informed both the design of the methods course as well as the research design of this study. Video recordings of TCs’ enactments in the methods course and in the school classroom served as the primary data source, while TCs’ video annotations and interview responses, along with my own reflective journal provided supporting data. Video analysis was conducted using Studiocode software to identify and organize salient moments in TCs’ responsive teaching. Findings revealed that TCs’ development of responsive teaching skills took a variety of forms, such as better anticipating student reasoning and attempting to enact responsive teaching moves that were new to them. Findings also revealed that teaching moves positioned as responsive in the literature are not always enacted in responsive ways, highlighting the importance of TCs enacting these moves purposefully and judiciously. Coaching aided TCs in their development of responsive teaching skills by introducing students to new teaching moves (e.g., Ask Different S to Revoice) and helping them to enact familiar moves in more responsive ways (e.g., T Records). Finally, findings relative to the school setting indicated that TCs enacted many of the same teaching moves in methods and in schools, but in different ways, some more responsively than others. Implications of these findings for TE practice include engaging TCs in more focused discussions about planning for IAs, as well as maintaining a focus on responsive teaching in coaching interjections, in part by raising TCs’ awareness of what might be gained by using teaching moves in particular ways.