The Common Core State Standards for Mathematical Practice asks students to look for and make use of structure. Hence, mathematics teacher educators need to prepare teachers to support students’ structural reasoning. In this article, we present tasks and rubrics designed and validated to characterize teachers’ structural reasoning for the purposes of professional development. Initially, tasks were designed and improved using interviews and small pilot studies. Next, we gave written structure tasks to over 600 teachers in two countries and developed and validated rubrics to categorize responses. Our work contributes to the preparation and support of mathematics teachers as they develop their own structural reasoning and their ability to help students develop structural reasoning.
Characterizing Secondary Teachers’ Structural Reasoning
Stacy Musgrave, Cameron Byerley, Neil Hatfield, Surani Joshua, and Hyunkyoung Yoon
Designing for Sensemaking of Research: The Mathematics District Leader Research Group
F. Paul Wonsavage
In this article, I share a design-based research intervention meant to help mathematics district leaders build their capacity to engage with research quality. I present my design (i.e., principles, key features, and intervention structure) and elaborate on how the features of the design allowed for mathematics district leaders’ sensemaking of educational research quality, especially regarding the process for collecting data and research implications. I conclude with recommendations for mathematics teacher educators on how they might adapt my design to their contexts.
Exploring Prospective Teachers’ Development of the Cartesian Form of Complex Numbers
Gülseren Karagöz Akar, Merve Saraç, and Mervenur Belin
In this study, we investigated prospective secondary mathematics teachers’ development of a meaning for the Cartesian form of complex numbers by examining the roots of quadratic equations through quantitative reasoning. Data included transcripts of the two sessions of classroom teaching experiments prospective teachers participated in, written artifacts from these teaching sessions, and their answers to pre-and-post written assessment questions. Results point toward prospective teachers’ improved meanings regarding the definition of complex numbers and the algebraic and geometrical meanings of the Cartesian form of complex numbers. Implications for mathematics teacher education include providing specific tasks and strategies for strengthening the knowledge of prospective and in-service teachers.
Are We Preparing Agents of Change or Instruments of Inequity? Teaching Toward Antiracist Mathematics Teacher Education
Joel Amidon, Anne Marie Marshall, and Rebecca E. Smith
The authors began this work with the understandings that (a) there is no “neutral” when it comes to the teaching of mathematics, and (b) mathematics teacher educators need to do something to help produce teachers of mathematics that develop students’ relationships with mathematics and push against the inequities that exist both within and outside of the classrooms in which they will teach. In response, the authors created, deployed, and studied a learning module in an attempt to enact antiracist mathematics teacher education. The learning module activities, the findings about the learning from the prospective teachers who engaged in the module, and messages for mathematics teacher educators who want to engage in this work are shared.
Dilemmas and Design Principles in Planning for Justice-Oriented Community-Based Mathematical Modeling Lessons
Jennifer M. Suh, Holly Tate, Maryanne Rossbach, Samara Green, Kathy Matson, Julia Aguirre, Padhu Seshaiyer, and Sam Steen
This article details the development of design principles to support teachers in planning for a Community-Based Mathematical Modeling task with a focus on social justice in the elementary grades. By reflecting on the dilemmas we encountered in the design and enactment of the tasks, we developed five design principles that allowed us to address issues of social justice as well as attend to powerful mathematical ideas to bring awareness and take action around a local problem. Through our article, we hope to share with mathematics teacher educators design principles to help plan for tasks with pre- and in-service teachers that prioritize connecting mathematics to social issues and empower both teachers and students to take action to make a positive impact in the community.
“Rahul is a Math Nerd” and “Mia Can Be a Drama Queen”: How Mixed-Reality Simulations Can Perpetuate Racist and Sexist Stereotypes
Liza Bondurant and Daniel Reinholz
This article focuses on using simulations of practice in teacher education. We studied preservice teachers’ engagement with a popular simulations platform, which creates mixed-reality simulations of five digital avatars controlled by a single live interactor. Because simulations are only an approximation of real practice, our overarching goal was to understand how mathematical stereotypes might arise in simulated spaces. We used Discourse analysis to classify the stereotypes present and the EQUIP observation tool to understand how PTs made participation opportunities available. We found that the simulations might have perpetuated overtly racist and sexist stereotypes and that negatively stereotyped students were afforded lower-quality opportunities to participate. We discuss how to mitigate potential harm caused and offer guidance for redesigning more equitable and antiracist simulations. Our goal is to raise critical questions for our field around the use of simulations of practice.
When Only White Students Talk: EQUIP-ing Prospective Teachers to Notice Inequitable Participation
Sunghwan Byun, Niral Shah, and Daniel Reinholz
We introduce a teacher learning practice called EQUIP-ing, which aims to foster sociopolitical noticing by leveraging EQUIP, an equity-oriented classroom observation tool. We detail our iterations of EQUIP-ing to a field-based Number Talk experience in a secondary mathematics methods course with 25 White prospective teachers (PTs). We offer empirical accounts of how EQUIP-ing empowered PTs to connect their teaching practices with racialized and gendered patterns of student participation; as a result, PTs began to reconsider taken-for-granted practices. However, we also found that PTs demonstrated potentially detrimental ways of attributing marginalizing patterns to minoritized students without actionable plans to redress the inequity. We conclude by inviting mathematics teacher educators to apply EQUIP-ing while emphasizing purposeful support for asset-based noticing.
Adaptations to Support the Flint Water Task
Dana L. Grosser-Clarkson and Joanna S. Hung
This Perspectives on Practice manuscript focuses on an innovation associated with “Engaging Teachers in the Powerful Combination of Mathematical Modeling and Social Justice: The Flint Water Task” from Volume 7, Issue 2 of MTE. The Flint Water Task has shown great promise in achieving the dual goals of exploring mathematical modeling while building awareness of social justice issues. This Perspectives on Practice article focuses on two adaptations of the task—gallery walks and What I Know, What I Wonder, What I Learned (KWL) charts—that we have found to enhance these learning opportunities. We found that the inclusion of a gallery walk supported our students in the development of their mathematical modeling skills by enhancing both the mathematical analyses of the models and the unpacking of assumptions. The KWL chart helps students document their increase in knowledge of the social justice issues surrounding the water crisis. Using the mathematical modeling cycle to explore social justice issues allows instructors to bring humanity into the mathematics classroom.
Engaging Teachers in the Combination of Statistical Investigation and Social Justice: Fairness in School Funding
Stephanie Casey, Liza Bondurant, and Andrew Ross
This Perspectives on Practice manuscript focuses on an innovation associated with “Engaging Teachers in the Powerful Combination of Mathematical Modeling and Social Justice: The Flint Water Task” from Volume 7, Issue 2 of MTE. We built on integration of mathematical modeling and social justice issues in mathematics teacher education to similarly integrate statistical investigations with social justice issues.
How Big Is a Leaf? Mathematical Modeling Through STEM Inquiry
Kym Fry and Lyn D. English
Grade 4 students engage in problem solving through inquiry in an agricultural science context.