A Qualitative Metasynthesis of Teaching Mathematics for Social Justice in Action: Pitfalls and Promises of Practice

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  • 1 University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Mathematics classrooms are increasingly becoming sites for investigating social (in)justice, but research on teaching mathematics for social justice remains limited to individual case studies. This article reports on a metasynthesis of 35 qualitative reports of social justice mathematics enactments in diverse classroom contexts. Critical race theory serves as a guiding framework for analyzing possibilities and limitations of these enactments to address racial inequities in mathematics education. Findings from this metasynthesis reveal that addressing race in social justice mathematics explorations provided opportunities for centering the voices of people of Color and critiquing liberal views that camouflage subtle forms of racism and involved substantial and authentic mathematical work. Promising practices and implications for future research are identified based on this synthesis.

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Contributor Notes

Frances K. Harper, 1122 Volunteer Blvd., 446 Claxton Education, Department of Theory and Practice in Teacher Education, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996; francesharper@utk.edu

(Corresponding author is Harper francesharper@utk.edu)
Journal for Research in Mathematics Education


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