Being a Girl Mathematician: Diversity of Positive Mathematical Identities in a Secondary Classroom

The construction of positive mathematical identities (MIs) is a complex and central issue in school mathematics, where girls are usually “counted out” of the field. This study explores positive MIs (high achiever and positive relationship with mathematics) of 3 girls. We employed a nested model of identity based on a case study approach (i.e., female mathematics students nested within a cluster of students nested within a mathematics classroom). The results highlight diversity in how these girls experienced mathematics: They valued different forms of doing mathematics (independent and collaborative; wider and complex; and straightforward, procedure-oriented mathematics), showed different forms of engagement (detachment, protagonist and challenging, and compliant and support-seeker), and narrated different MIs (efficient, different, and responsible). The study also explores and discusses the roles of mathematical practice and belonging to different peer clusters in these different forms of identification.

Contributor Notes

Darinka Radovic, Center for Mathematics Modeling, Department of Mathematical Engineering, Facultad de Ciencias Físicas y Matemáticas, Universidad de Chile, Beauchef 851, Santiago, Chile; dradovic@dim.uchile.cl

Laura Black, Institute of Education, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, United Kingdom, M13 9PL; laura.black@manchester.ac.uk

Christian E. Salas, Laboratorio de Neurociencia Cognitiva y Social (LaNCyS), Facultad de Psicología, Universidad Diego Portales, Vergara 275, Santiago, Chile; salasriquelme@gmail.com

Julian Williams, Institute of Education, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, United Kingdom, M13 9PL; julian.williams@manchester.ac.uk

(Corresponding author is Radovic dradovic@dim.uchile.cl)(Corresponding author is Black laura.black@manchester.ac.uk)(Corresponding author is Salas salasriquelme@gmail.com)(Corresponding author is Williams julian.williams@manchester.ac.uk)
Journal for Research in Mathematics Education

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