Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name



Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Saliha Ozgun-Koca


Teachers’ daily instructional practices are a critical component in creating a rich and meaningful educational experience for students. Thus, factors that inform instructional practices are of particular importance and interest to education researchers and other stakeholders. Beliefs about teaching and learning are a known factor influencing teachers’ instructional practices (Ernest, 1989). This study focused on a specific instructional practice, question-asking, which has a profound impact on students’ experience with mathematics (Weiland, Hudson, and Amador (2014). Understanding the relationship between teachers’ beliefs and practice helps to make sense of teachers’ decision-making processes, particularly as they choose questions to ask students during mathematics lessons.

This study solicited teachers’ beliefs about mathematics teaching and learning using qualitative tools (Beliefs Inventory Survey and Pre-Observation Interview) and classroom observations. The researcher engaged participants in a reflective process which deliberately focused on the mathematics questions they asked during instruction. Teachers were encouraged to reflect on their question-asking practices, in relation to their beliefs, during a series of reflection meetings occurring between classroom observations.

The findings of the present study indicate that while teachers ask more low-level questions than high-level questions, they ask a greater variety of high-level questions during mathematics instruction. The most frequently provided reasons for asking questions included; review of content, addressing common misconceptions; and reinforcing procedures. According to the present study, teachers’ beliefs uncovered during the reflection meetings were more aligned to the reasons for asking questions than the level (low or high) of questions asked. Another finding of the present study pertained to the potential effects of reflection on practice. When participants of this study felt their beliefs aligned with their practice, they were less likely to experience changes in thinking or question-asking practices.