Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Rosalind Charlesworth

Second Advisor

Elizabeth Senger


This study investigated the beliefs and teaching practices of a kindergarten teacher who participated in the Louisiana Systemic Initiative Program (LaSIP). It focused on the teacher's beliefs and classroom practices both prior to and after the LaSIP summer mathematics in-service activities. Ethnographic and life history methods were employed. The teacher's self-reports were the primary data source used to determine her beliefs and practices prior to the in-service, with triangulation provided through an interview with her principal and analysis of artifacts. She was observed during the academic year following the in-service activities. Data collection included field notes, audiotapes, photographs, diaries, and artifacts. Quantitative data from a questionnaire and two other classroom observational instruments were also analyzed to determine her beliefs and practices after the in-service activities. Analyses of the life history data revealed that a variety of academic and personal experiences impacted the beliefs and practices that the teacher brought to the LaSIP in-service. She attended a number of in-service activities before participating in the LaSIP activities. The analyses indicated that sometimes she rejected or altered suggested workshop proposals. The results of this study revealed two distinct periods in her teaching that were significant in terms of the beliefs and practices that she brought to the LaSIP in-service. During one period developmentally appropriate mathematics instructional practices were exhibited; while developmentally inappropriate mathematics instructional practices were exhibited during the other. The findings indicated that the change that occurred in her teaching resulted from problems that she experienced in her personal life. The teacher's personal life was intertwined with her school life. She "suppressed" her beliefs about teaching during a period of personal turmoil. The findings further indicated that the LaSIP activities served as a catalyst for the teacher's reflections about her teaching. Through reflection, she revived developmentally appropriate beliefs and practices that were in evidence before the period of personal problems. This study documented a change in those revived practices in the area of problem-solving.