The field of mathematics education research has seen a resurgence of interest in understanding collaborative learning because students in K–12 classrooms are increasingly expected to make sense of mathematics problems together. This research commentary argues for the importance of understanding student authority relations in collaborative mathematics classrooms. How intellectual authority becomes constructed, organized, and distributed among students has implications for both mathematics learning and the development of mathematics-linked identities. This research commentary suggests directions for future work to gain clarity on the mechanisms that undergird the distribution of authority in order to support powerful mathematics classrooms.
Jennifer M. Langer-Osuna
Indigo Esmonde and Jennifer M. Langer-Osuna
In this article, mathematics classrooms are conceptualized as heterogeneous spaces in which multiple figured worlds come into contact. The study explores how a group of high school students drew upon several figured worlds as they navigated mathematical discussions. Results highlight 3 major points. First, the students drew on 2 primary figured worlds: a mathematics learning figured world and a figured world of friendship and romance. Both of these figured worlds were racialized and gendered, and were actively constructed and contested by the students. Second, these figured worlds offered resources for 1 African American student, Dawn, to position herself powerfully within classroom hierarchies. Third, these acts of positioning allowed Dawn to engage in mathematical practices such as conjecturing, clarifying ideas, and providing evidence.