Equity has risen to a prominent position in mathematics education with some organizations such as the NCTM positioning it first of six principles for teaching mathematics. Additionally, much work has been focused on the development of effective mathematics teaching practices (NCTM, 2014), culturally relevant practices (Gay, 2000, Leonard, 2008) and developing social justice curriculum (Gutstein, 2006). However, what is still lacking is explicit attention to equity issues within the different academic disciplines in teacher preparation programs (Banks, 1993; Ladson-Billings, 1994). Many scholars argue that mathematics education courses need to have an explicit focus on equity and mathematics instruction to prepare teacher candidates for the realties in schools (Aguirre, 2009; Gutiérrez, 2012a; Martin, 2003). Therefore, this study addresses this problem outlined by the literature as it purposefully embedded issues of equity alongside the typical content contained in a mathematics methods course. A phenomenological understanding of teacher candidates’ perceptions as they experience becoming equity-minded in a mathematics methods course holds great potential to provide new insights into integrating equity into the teaching and learning of mathematics from an authentic, learner-centered perspective. This study seeks to help teacher educators and teacher education programs understand more deeply how teacher candidates may experience cultivating an equity mindset for the teaching of elementary mathematics by addressing follow question: How might cultivating equity mindedness take shape with teacher candidates in an elementary mathematics methods course? This qualitative study utilized a post-intentional research design (Vagle, 2014) to investigate a group of teacher candidates’ lived experiences of cultivating equity-mindedness while enrolled in a face-to-face, undergraduate, mathematics methods course. For sixteen weeks following the conclusion of the course, qualitative methods were used to collect data from the teacher candidates’ accountings of their experience shared through individual interviews and written course assignments. Iterative cycles of whole-part-whole approach (Vagle, 2014) captured tentative manifestations of the phenomenon of cultivating equity-mindedness as it was experienced in the methods course. Five tentative manifestations were produced through data analysis: (1) metacognitive awareness; (2) struggles with power; (3) knowledge of students; (4) multiplicity in practice; and (5) discourse of equity. The insights gained from this study were used to make recommendations for teacher educators and teacher preparation programs for practices that help promote and foster the growth of equity-oriented mindset for the teaching and learning of mathematics.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. 2016. Major: Education, Curriculum and Instruction. Advisors: Kathleen Cramer, Mark Vagle. 1 computer file (PDF); 285 pages.
“Can I just be a human with them?" Cultivating Equity-Mindedness for the Teaching and Learning of Elementary Mathematics.
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