Justice-Centered Mathematics Teaching

A special issue of Education Sciences (ISSN 2227-7102).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 January 2025 | Viewed by 187

Special Issue Editors

Associate Professor, Department of Teaching and Learning, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV 89154, USA
Interests: mathematics education; social justice mathematics; healing-informed pedagogies; critical consciousness; teacher activism

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Guest Editor
Assistant Professor, School of Education, Howard University, Washington, DC 20059, USA
Interests: statistics and data science education; mathematical sociology; contextual probability

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Many mathematics education researchers and educators are committed to studying and implementing justice-oriented and critical pedagogies in classroom settings. Various frameworks describe the development of critical orientations in mathematical contexts, yet our field can benefit from scholarship that shares useful insights for mathematics educators’ actualization of critical pedagogy. In this Special Issue, we invite authors to focus on and examine the legacy, enactment, and praxis of critical pedagogy in mathematics teaching and learning. By doing so, we invite authors to examine the various ways that classroom-based educators continue to expand how students learn to “read and write the world” with mathematics (Gutstein, 2006).

Critical pedagogies implemented in mathematical contexts have been referenced by many terms, such as teaching mathematics for social justice (e.g., Bartell, 2013; Buenrostro, 2016; Esmonde, 2014; Gonzalez, 2009; Gregson, 2013; Harper, 2019; Harper and Kudaisi, 2023; Larnell et al., 2016; Leonard et al., 2010; Pinheiro and Chávez, 2023; Pinheiro et al., 2023; Rubel et al., 2016; Suh et al., 2023; Wager and Stinson, 2012), social justice mathematics (e.g., Aguirre et al., 2019; Felton-Koestler, 2017; Kokka, 2022; Lee-Hassan, 2023), critical mathematics (e.g., Brantlinger, 2007; Gutiérrez, R. J., 2013; Frankenstein, 1983; Skovsmose, 1994), and teaching mathematics for spatial justice (e.g., Rubel et al., 2016, 2017), to name a few. These justice-centered approaches to mathematics education focus on dismantling interlocking systems of oppression, such as white supremacy, cisheteropatriachy, ableism, imperialism, capitalism, and so forth (e.g., hooks, 2010), to take action toward justice and may include healing-centered approaches that attend to students’ emotions (e.g., Kokka, 2019, 2022). In this Special Issue, we seek articles that investigate justice-centered mathematics education across a variety of contexts, grade levels, locations, places, and spaces.

Specifically, we seek papers (especially empirical articles) that will advance readers’ understanding of justice-oriented mathematics, inclusive of, but not limited to, articles that:

  • Investigate how teachers navigate tensions when attempting to teach mathematics for social justice;
  • Examine student responses to social justice mathematics lessons;
  • Center students’ knowledge and leadership;
  • Offer meaningful implications for classroom teachers of mathematics;
  • Offer meaningful implications for mathematics teacher leaders and coaches;
  • Offer meaningful implications for mathematics teacher educators;
  • Offer meaningful implications for mathematics educators working in increasingly politicized, hostile climates;
  • Aim to support mathematics educators and students to dismantle systems of oppression;
  • Offer meaningful insights about students taking action;
  • Offer meaningful insights about mathematics teachers taking action outside the classroom;
  • Share innovative approaches that challenge and/or move conceptions of justice-oriented mathematics forward.

We are particularly interested in scholarship from authors of minoritized and marginalized backgrounds. We look forward to reading your submissions.


Aguirre, J. M., Anhalt, C. O., Cortez, R., Turner, E. E., & Simic-Muller, K. (2019). Engaging teachers in the powerful combination of mathematical modeling and social justice: The Flint water task. Mathematics Teacher Educator, 7(2), 7-26.

Bartell, T. G. (2013). Learning to teach mathematics for social justice: Negotiating social justice and mathematical goals. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 44(1), 129-163.

Brantlinger, A.(2007). Geometries of Inequality: Teaching and researching critical mathematics in a low-income urban high school. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL.

Buenrostro, P. M. (2016). Humanizing Mathematics: Students' Perspectives on Learning Math for Social Justice (Doctoral dissertation, University of Illinois at Chicago).

d'Ambrosio, U. (1985). Ethnomathematics and its place in the history and pedagogy of mathematics. For the learning of Mathematics, 5(1), 44-48.

Esmonde, I. (2014). “Nobody’s rich and nobody’s poor . . . it sounds good, but it’s actually not”: Affluent students learning mathematics and social justice. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 23(3), 348–391. https://doi.org/10.1080/10508406.2013.847371

Felton-Koestler, M. D. (2017). Mathematics education as sociopolitical: prospective teachers’ views of the What, Who, and How. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 20, 49-74.

Frankenstein,  M.  (1983).  Critical  mathematics  education:  An  application  of  Paulo  Freire‘s epistemology. Journal of Education, 165(4), 315–359.

Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed (M. B. Ramos, Trans.). Herder and Herder.

Gonzalez, L. (2009). Teaching mathematics for social justice: Reflections on a community of practice for urban high school mathematics teachers.

Gregson, S. A. (2013). Negotiating social justice teaching: One full-time teacher’s practice viewed from the trenches. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 44(1), 164–198. https://doi.org/10.5951/jresematheduc.44.1.0164.

Gutiérrez, R. J. (2013). Building" consciousness and legacies": Integrating community, critical, and classical knowledge bases in a precalculus class. The University of Arizona.

Gutstein, E. (2006). Reading and writing the world with mathematics: Toward a pedagogy for social justice. Routledge.

Harper, F. K. (2019). A qualitative metasynthesis of teaching mathematics for social justice in action: Pitfalls and promises of practice. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 50(3), 268–310. https://doi.org/10.5951/jresematheduc.50.3.0268

Harper, F. K., & Kudaisi, Q. J. (2023). Geometry, groceries, and gardens: Learning mathematics and social justice through a nested, equity-directed instructional approach. The Journal of Mathematical Behavior, 71, 101069.

hooks, b. (2010). Understanding patriarchy. Louisville Anarchist Federation Federation. http://imaginenoborders.org/pdf/zines/UnderstandingPatriarchy.pdf.

Kokka, K. (2019). Healing-Informed Social Justice Mathematics: Promoting Students’ Sociopolitical Consciousness and Well-Being in Mathematics Class. Urban Education, 54(9), 1179-1209. https://doi.org/10.1177/0042085918806947.

Kokka, K. (2022). Toward a theory of affective pedagogical goals for social justice mathematics. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 53(2), 133-153.

Larnell, G. V., Bullock, E. C., & Jett, C. C. (2016). Rethinking teaching and learning mathematics for social justice from a critical race perspective. Journal of Education, 196(1), 19-29. 

Lee-Hassan, A. W. (2023). No Simple Formula: Navigating Tensions in Teaching Postsecondary Social Justice Mathematics. Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, 13(2), 151-160.

Leonard, J., Brooks, W., Barnes-Johnson, J., & Berry III, R. Q. (2010). The nuances and complexities of teaching mathematics for cultural relevance and social justice. Journal of Teacher Education, 61(3), 261-270.

Pinheiro, W. A., & Chávez, R. (2023). Queer high school students’ takeaways from the teaching of mathematics for social justice. Proceedings: 45th Annual Meeting of the Psychology in Mathematics Education North America Conference.

Pinheiro, W. A., Velasco, R., & Childers, G. (2023). Developing a Teaching of Mathematics for Social Justice Survey. Proceedings: 12th International Conference of Mathematics Education and Society.

Powell, A. B., & Frankenstein, M. (Eds.). (1997). Ethnomathematics: Challenging Eurocentrism in mathematics education. State University of New York Press.

Rubel, L. H., Hall-Wieckert, M., & Lim, V. Y. (2016). Teaching mathematics for spatial justice: Beyond a victory narrative. Harvard Educational Review, 86(4), 556–579. https://doi.org/10.17763/1943-5045-86.4.556.

Rubel, L. H., Hall-Wieckert, M., & Lim, V. Y. (2017). Making space for place: Mapping tools and practices to teach for spatial justice. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 26(4), 643-687.

Skovsmose, O. (1994). Towards a Critical Mathematics Education. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 27(1), 35–57. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3482665.

Suh, J. M., Tate, H., Rossbach, M., Green, S., Matson, K., Aguirre, J., Seshaiyer, P., & Steen, S. (2023). Dilemmas and Design Principles in Planning for Justice-Oriented Community-Based Mathematical Modeling Lessons. Mathematics Teacher Educator, 11(3), 210-230.

Wager, A. A., & Stinson, D. W. (Eds.). (2012). Teaching mathematics for social justice: Conversations with educators. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Dr. Kari Kokka
Dr. Nathan Alexander
Guest Editors

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  • mathematics education
  • teaching mathematics for social justice
  • social justice mathematics
  • critical pedagogy
  • racial justice
  • social justice education
  • healing-centered education
  • student agency

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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