Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Patricia S. Davidson

Second Advisor

Arthur B. Millman

Third Advisor

John R. Murray


In the context of the goals for reform in mathematics education, as advocated by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, this thesis calls for elementary level students to be actively engaged in learning mathematics through the use of hands-on materials and problem solving situations which involve investigation, reasoning, and communication. These mathematical goals are discussed and then related to the more general critical thinking skills of identifying and formulating questions, asking and answering questions, investigating and analyzing data, deducing and judging deductions, inducing and judging inductions, defining terms, and interacting with others. This thesis is based heavily on the experience of the author, as she evolved from being a traditional elementary mathematics teacher, novice student of critical and creative thinking, and skeptical participant in her first Mathematics a Way of Thinking workshop to becoming a confident and thinking mathematics teacher, flexible and effective workshop leader, and strong advocate for reform in mathematics education. From these experiences, it has become clear to the author that in order for the goals for reform to be met, there must not only be changes in what is taught, but also in how it is taught. In order for teachers to change the way they teach, they must re-learn mathematics in a framework that involves them in active learning and small group interaction with an instructor who models strategies and behaviors for teaching thinking. In this thesis, the author shares her experiences in trying to become this type of teacher trainer. This thesis examines the Mathematics a Way of Thinking workshop as a model for effective teacher training and provides sample mathematical lessons as instruments for change. Ten teachers who participated in the author's workshops and who are ;trying to implement change in their own classrooms were interviewed. Dialogues with these teachers are quoted to indicate their experiences of change in the learning and teaching of mathematics.