Case-studies of teachers collaborating to implement a culturally-relevant problem-solving rich mathematics unit in four classrooms in the commonwealth of the northern mariana islands

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Borja, Dora Pangelinan
Problem-solving mathematics, ethnomathematics; Saipan; CNMI; teachers; case study
thesis / dissertation description
I chronicled the journeys of four teachers in three elementary schools in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). To support the teachers in the implementation process, I created a series of focused collaboration sessions for them. These sessions first introduced the teachers to the idea of ethnomathematics and the potential of adopting culturally-relevant approaches, and later provided support during implementation. In order for me to understand the impact of the collaboration sessions and the implementation process on the teachers' beliefs about mathematics, teaching and curriculum, I created four case studies, one for each teacher, and employed cross-case analysis to form my conclusions. My analysis of the case studies showed that the teachers believed that the focused collaboration sessions and the implementation process effectively changed their teaching, their attitudes and knowledge of mathematics, and their understanding of curriculum. I recommend that others adopt a similar focused collaboration approach as a form of professional development for teachers interested in different approaches to teaching mathematics and developing curriculum.