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Graduate Defense: Emily Leckie

May 24 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Dissertation Defense

Dissertation Information

Title: A Collective Case Study Illustrating Effective Explicit Attention To Concepts In Middle Grades

Program: Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction

Advisor: Dr. Michele Carney, Curriculum, Instruction, and Foundational Studies

Committee Members: Dr. Angela Crawford, Mathematics (Co-Chair); Dr. Joe Champion, Mathematics and Dr. Michael Jarry-Shore, Curriculum, Instruction, and Foundational Studies


This qualitative study describes ways in which Explicit Attention to Concepts (EAC) is implemented in middle grades mathematics classrooms. The purpose is to describe specific components of lessons with high levels of EAC in middle grades classrooms and how teachers implement the EAC strategies, while taking into account the complex relationships within the classroom context. Research suggests that EAC is an important instructional component for students in developing conceptual understanding. This study is a collective case study which takes a reflexive thematic analysis approach. Eight teacher participants were selected based on videos of full lessons exhibiting high levels of EAC. The primary data source for this study was lesson videos. The analysis revealed there is great variety in which EAC strategies are implemented and that strategies about representations might be particularly helpful. During lesson segments for particularly high EAC, strategies were implemented with visual representations, the articulation of student thinking, and gestures. Teachers also used these elements to press concepts during classroom discussions. Teachers may want to include these elements while staying focused on the mathematical concept in order to make the concept explicit and public, sometimes through emphasizing connections.