Critical Perspectives on Mathematics Teacher Education

A special issue of Education Sciences (ISSN 2227-7102). This special issue belongs to the section "Teacher Education".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2023) | Viewed by 26567

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Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Faculty of Education and International Studies, Oslo Metropolitan University, 0167 Oslo, Norway
Interests: mathematics teacher education; sociocultural and sociopolitical issues; knowledge; beliefs; practices

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Guest Editor
1. Faculty of Education, University of Regina, Regina, SK S4S 0A2, Canada
2. Faculty of Education and International Studies, Oslo Metropolitan University, 0167 Oslo, Norway
Interests: mathematics teacher education; culturally responsive pedagogy; ethnomathematics; disruptive pedagogy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The purpose of this Special Issue is to provide a platform for scholars working in mathematics teacher education to discuss critical perspectives on this area. By mathematics teacher education, we refer to both initial teacher education (prospective teachers) and continuous professional development (practicing teachers) at all school levels (early years, primary, secondary). Further, we use the term critical as an umbrella under which different philosophical/epistemological approaches intersect, aiming at supporting prospective/practicing teachers toward developing socio-cultural and/or socio-political awareness about mathematics, its teaching/learning, and the world beyond formal schooling. In the past, colleagues have explored these issues in mathematics education through the theoretical lenses of equity, social justice, culturally responsive pedagogy, Indigenous education, ethnomathematics, critical mathematics education, and so on. In this Special Issue, we focus these lenses specifically on the field of mathematics teacher education. By referring to critical perspectives, we invite scholars to submit empirical or theoretical papers aimed at disrupting the status quo of teacher education and empowering teachers to develop awareness of the social, cultural, and political dimensions of mathematics education. In doing so, we challenge colleagues to reconsider notions, such as positive dispositions, necessary content knowledge for teaching, and effective teaching skills, areas of focus that persist in technical–rational approaches to teacher education.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Working with prospective and/or practicing mathematics teachers and issues of minoritization: e.g., gender and gender identity, ethnicity, social class, disability, sexual orientation.
  • Reporting on programmes about the engagement of prospective and/or practicing mathematics teachers with concepts, such as equity, social justice, critical mathematics education, Indigenous education, culturally responsive pedagogy, ethnomathematics, and so on.
  • School-based approaches involving mathematics teachers in addressing the learning needs of children with diverse backgrounds.
  • Theory practice dilemmas in aiming for critical perspectives in/for mathematics teacher education.
  • Essays, systematic reviews, meta-synthesis, or meta-analysis papers addressing critical issues in mathematics teacher education.

Dr. Constantinos Xenofontos
Prof. Dr. Kathleen T. Nolan
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • critical perspectives
  • mathematics teacher education
  • equity
  • social justice
  • ethnomathematics
  • critical mathematics education
  • Indigenous education
  • culturally responsive pedagogy
  • socio-cultural issues
  • socio-political issues

Published Papers (14 papers)

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Editorial

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5 pages, 195 KiB  
Editorial
Special Issue Introduction: Critical Perspectives on Mathematics Teacher Education
by Constantinos Xenofontos and Kathleen T. Nolan
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(12), 1218; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13121218 - 7 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1192
Abstract
Nowadays, the field of mathematics education research is more diverse than ever [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Perspectives on Mathematics Teacher Education)

Research

Jump to: Editorial

30 pages, 2409 KiB  
Article
Bringing Critical Mathematics Education and Actor–Network Theory to a Statistics Course in Mathematics Teacher Education: Actants for Articulating Complexity in Student Teachers’ Foregrounds
by Magnus Ödmo, Anna Chronaki and Lisa Bjorklund Boistrup
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(12), 1201; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13121201 - 29 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1538
Abstract
In this paper, we discuss how critical mathematics education (CME) and actor–network theory (ANT) come together in a mathematics teacher education course that focuses on the thematic context of climate change to study statistics. Acknowledging the complexity that student teachers encounter when asked [...] Read more.
In this paper, we discuss how critical mathematics education (CME) and actor–network theory (ANT) come together in a mathematics teacher education course that focuses on the thematic context of climate change to study statistics. Acknowledging the complexity that student teachers encounter when asked to move from a mainly instrumental treatment of statistics toward a critical foreground of data in society, we turn to explore the actant networks, as theorized by ANT, utilized by student teachers when asked to imagine teaching from a CME perspective. For this, our study is based on a series of interviews with student teachers who participated in a statistics course where pollution data graphs were discussed, inquiring about their role as future critical mathematics teachers. The transcribed interviews, analyzed through ANT, inform us as to how student teachers’ foregrounds are being shaped by actants such as the curriculum, social justice, democracy, and source critique, among others. Based on the above, we recommend that teacher education should invite active discussion of the complexity created when a CME perspective is required. This move would allow for a critical approach to critical mathematics education itself that could prepare student teachers to navigate, instead of ignoring or opposing, such complexity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Perspectives on Mathematics Teacher Education)
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15 pages, 1021 KiB  
Article
Maintaining Tensions: Braiding as an Analogy for Mathematics Teacher Educators’ Political Work
by Marrielle Myers, Kari Kokka and Rochelle Gutiérrez
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(11), 1100; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13111100 - 31 Oct 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1748
Abstract
Although the field of mathematics education has made gains in centering the need for justice-oriented approaches and antiracist teaching practices in teacher education, much of this work remains in its infancy. Moreover, research focused on this area highlights teacher candidates’ knowledge and dispositions [...] Read more.
Although the field of mathematics education has made gains in centering the need for justice-oriented approaches and antiracist teaching practices in teacher education, much of this work remains in its infancy. Moreover, research focused on this area highlights teacher candidates’ knowledge and dispositions and often ignores the role of the mathematics teacher educators facilitating the process. We contend that mathematics teacher educators must pay more attention to how intersectional identities, contexts, Mirror Tests, and principles of Rehumanizing Mathematics manifest in teacher education to better understand how teacher candidates develop political knowledge in teaching mathematics. To this end, we introduce a framework of considerations, which we call a compass, that identifies four dimensions (or strands) and offers guiding questions for mathematics teacher educators to consider. We offer examples from a multi-site research study to illuminate each dimension and build the case for the necessity of braiding the four strands together as we engage in this line of work. Implications for practice and future research are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Perspectives on Mathematics Teacher Education)
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15 pages, 421 KiB  
Article
Pedagogical Imagination in Mathematics Teacher Education
by Ole Skovsmose, Priscila Lima and Miriam Godoy Penteado
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(10), 1059; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13101059 - 21 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1078
Abstract
After providing a brief summary of what has already been said about pedagogical imagination, data are presented showing how prospective mathematics teachers can become engaged in such imaginations. With reference to this data, the notion of pedagogical imagination is explored further by relating [...] Read more.
After providing a brief summary of what has already been said about pedagogical imagination, data are presented showing how prospective mathematics teachers can become engaged in such imaginations. With reference to this data, the notion of pedagogical imagination is explored further by relating it to dialogue, social justice, mathematics, hope, and sociological imagination. To illustrate these relationships, different episodes from the data are highlighted. Finally, the central role that pedagogical imagination can play in mathematics teacher education is discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Perspectives on Mathematics Teacher Education)
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15 pages, 287 KiB  
Article
The Role of Insights in Becoming a Culturally Responsive Mathematics Teacher
by Kathleen T. Nolan and Constantinos Xenofontos
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(10), 1028; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13101028 - 13 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1757
Abstract
This paper extends earlier research on prospective and practicing teachers’ (PPTs’) developing understandings of culturally responsive pedagogy (CRP) while enrolled in a teacher education course for CRP and mathematics. Here, we take as our starting point a framework we refer to as COFRI, [...] Read more.
This paper extends earlier research on prospective and practicing teachers’ (PPTs’) developing understandings of culturally responsive pedagogy (CRP) while enrolled in a teacher education course for CRP and mathematics. Here, we take as our starting point a framework we refer to as COFRI, which describes five integral components of PPTs’ perspectives on CRP: Challenges, Opportunities, Fears, Resistance, and Insights. Viewing PPTs’ reflective journal entries through the lens of this framework, we noticed interesting relationships between the five components that had not been evident in our initial analysis. Specifically, we observed that, as we coded participants’ reflections according to C, O, F, R, and I, each I (insight) appeared to be related to one (or more) of the other components in quite different ways. Additionally, careful study of the insights expressed by PPTs lead to our categorization of insights according to one of three types: mathematical, pedagogical, or ideological. As a result, this paper offers a new way to interpret the five components, specifically their relationships to new insights into CRP and the corresponding types of insights that PPTs produce over the course of one semester. In closing, this paper discusses implications for mathematics teacher educators in understanding and processing PPTs’ evolving understandings of CRP. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Perspectives on Mathematics Teacher Education)
23 pages, 2383 KiB  
Article
Addressing Language Diversity in Early Years Mathematics: Proposed Classroom Practices through a Live Brief Assessment
by Sinem Hizli Alkan and Derya Sahin Ipek
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(10), 1025; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13101025 - 11 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1916
Abstract
There is a growing emphasis on the role of language in teaching and learning mathematics, most significantly in classrooms with increased language diversity. Consequently, teachers face considerable challenges in accommodating diverse needs and must employ strategies to support all students. It is, therefore, [...] Read more.
There is a growing emphasis on the role of language in teaching and learning mathematics, most significantly in classrooms with increased language diversity. Consequently, teachers face considerable challenges in accommodating diverse needs and must employ strategies to support all students. It is, therefore, crucial to provide prospective teachers with opportunities to enhance their pedagogical approaches while raising their awareness of the relationship between language and mathematics. In this respect, Live Brief assessments in Higher Education, which involve students working on authentic projects/tasks from a school, may be a promising avenue. This research draws on the 19 Live Brief group presentations prepared by a total of 118 Year 1 prospective primary school teachers, specifically focusing on the language-related challenges faced by a local school in early years mathematics. The data encompassed prospective teachers’ proposed practices, including one-to-one, small group and whole class activities, that aimed to address language diversity. Data analysis was informed by Moschkovich’s three perspectives on the relation between language and teaching and learning mathematics, namely lexicon, register and situated-sociocultural perspectives. While a lexicon perspective was commonly evident in the activities, the manifestation of a situated socio-cultural perspective mainly in the one–to-one activities is noteworthy, given its social and discursive nature. Three themes encapsulated a range of practices suggested in the findings: explicit vocabulary teaching, different strategies of scaffolding and utilising multi-sensory approaches. While the lexicon and register perspectives were commonly evident, the situated socio-cultural perspective was much less commonly manifested in the practices. We offer implications to initial teacher education curriculum, future research and policies about teaching and learning mathematics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Perspectives on Mathematics Teacher Education)
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19 pages, 3325 KiB  
Article
Teacher Development for Equitable Mathematics Classrooms: Reflecting on Experience in the Context of Performativity
by Sue Hough and Yvette Solomon
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(10), 993; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13100993 - 28 Sep 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1261
Abstract
In this article, we chart the development of one of us—Sue Hough—from a teacher who wanted students to understand to one who gained new critical understandings of student thinking, pedagogy, and the very nature of mathematics. We comment on the role of research [...] Read more.
In this article, we chart the development of one of us—Sue Hough—from a teacher who wanted students to understand to one who gained new critical understandings of student thinking, pedagogy, and the very nature of mathematics. We comment on the role of research interventions and learning communities in this development, with a particular focus on Sue’s encounter with Realistic Mathematics Education and the connections it makes between informal and formal mathematics through the pedagogy of guided reinvention. Development towards teaching that enables all learners to make sense of mathematics requires fundamental changes in pedagogic practice and a reconceptualisation of progress. Bringing about such radical change relies on one further aspect of Sue’s story—the freedom to experiment and learn as a teacher. We note the remoteness of this possibility in a climate of performativity and marketised education, and we discuss the implications of Sue’s journey for our pedagogical responsibilities in professional development today. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Perspectives on Mathematics Teacher Education)
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21 pages, 3480 KiB  
Article
Overcoming Obstacles for the Inclusion of Visually Impaired Learners through Teacher–Researcher Collaborative Design and Implementation
by Angeliki Stylianidou and Elena Nardi
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(10), 973; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13100973 - 24 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1208
Abstract
Teacher preparation to address the needs of disabled learners in mainstream mathematics classrooms is quintessential for the implementation of the inclusive educational policies that governments are often committed to. To identify teacher preparation needs, we draw on data and analyses from the doctoral [...] Read more.
Teacher preparation to address the needs of disabled learners in mainstream mathematics classrooms is quintessential for the implementation of the inclusive educational policies that governments are often committed to. To identify teacher preparation needs, we draw on data and analyses from the doctoral study of the first author, who endorsed sociocultural and embodied perspectives in an investigation—first exploratory, then interventional—of visually impaired (VI) learners’ experiences and their teachers’ inclusion discourses. Here, we focus on the intertwined contributions of physical and digital resources in the mathematical learning experiences of VI pupils, as these resources co-existed simultaneously in the observed mathematics lessons. We first summarise findings from the exploratory phase that highlighted inclusion issues related to resource use in the mathematics classroom. We then offer a critical account of the circumstantial and systemic obstacles that impeded the successful intertwinement of digital and physical resources and discuss teacher–researcher collaborative design and implementation of classroom tasks (auditory, tactile) in the intervention phase. We conclude by making the case that well-meaning individual teacher–researcher collaboration is a necessary condition for such interventions to succeed but not a sufficient condition for these interventions to be scaled up and have longevity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Perspectives on Mathematics Teacher Education)
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17 pages, 624 KiB  
Article
Teacher Learning towards Equitable Mathematics Classrooms: Reframing Problems of Practice
by Yvette Solomon, Elisabeta Eriksen and Annette Hessen Bjerke
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(9), 960; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13090960 - 19 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1754
Abstract
This study responds to the debate on understanding and evaluating teacher learning in professional development programmes, with particular reference to the development of equitable mathematics classrooms. Conducted in the context of a year-long PD mathematics programme for primary teachers in Norway, designed to [...] Read more.
This study responds to the debate on understanding and evaluating teacher learning in professional development programmes, with particular reference to the development of equitable mathematics classrooms. Conducted in the context of a year-long PD mathematics programme for primary teachers in Norway, designed to disrupt teachers’ assumptions about mathematics pedagogy and how it relates to students’ mathematical thinking, this study takes teachers’ entry goals as its point of departure. Sixteen teachers participated in interviews at the end of the course. Recognising the situated nature of the development of pedagogic judgement in our analysis of teachers’ reflections on their learning, we report on the shift in their “problems of practice” towards actionable concerns about student inclusion. We argue that this shift underpins a fundamental change in their assumptions about teaching and learning and a critical stance towards their own professional practice, suggesting an important indicator of what constitutes sustainable professional development for critical mathematics education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Perspectives on Mathematics Teacher Education)
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13 pages, 287 KiB  
Article
The Fascists Are Coming! Teacher Education for When Right-Wing Activism Micro-Governs Classroom Practice
by Peter Appelbaum
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(9), 883; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13090883 - 31 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1260
Abstract
U.S. educational reform is often the harbinger of global demands on mathematics education practices globally. It behooves teacher education to ‘catch up’ on current trends, hopefully, to stave off the worst of the fascist tendencies of contemporary politics of education. Past foci on [...] Read more.
U.S. educational reform is often the harbinger of global demands on mathematics education practices globally. It behooves teacher education to ‘catch up’ on current trends, hopefully, to stave off the worst of the fascist tendencies of contemporary politics of education. Past foci on research-based ‘best practices’ and ‘mathematics for all’, grounded in liberal multiculturalism (confirming expectations from critical mathematics education scholarship), have become the targets of activists and politicians, turning once-exemplary teachers and their students into casualties. The four phases of currere are employed to study this phenomenon and to identify strategies and tactics for teacher education programs. The currere methodology indicates that the content of such programs must reduce time devoted to evidence and research-based practice in order to accommodate techniques and knowledge bases for the recognition of right-wing tactics, clowning, slogan parody, and political organizing. Teacher education must further place mathematics teachers’ embrace of expertise, authority, and neutrality within broader perspectives on the politics of education, organizational infrastructure strategies and tactics, resource curation, and personal safety planning. Teacher educators themselves must prepare responses to threats on their careers, lives, and families, and proactive ‘game plans’ for the development of new program curricula. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Perspectives on Mathematics Teacher Education)
24 pages, 2131 KiB  
Article
The Role of Mathematics Teacher Education in Overcoming Narrow Neocolonial Views of Mathematics
by Kay Owens
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(9), 868; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13090868 - 25 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2113
Abstract
Over the past 30 years, teacher education has changed to incorporate a larger emphasis on understanding students’ sociocultural backgrounds, knowing that these influence their learning. However, in terms of mathematics and mathematics education in teacher education, less has been done to recognise the [...] Read more.
Over the past 30 years, teacher education has changed to incorporate a larger emphasis on understanding students’ sociocultural backgrounds, knowing that these influence their learning. However, in terms of mathematics and mathematics education in teacher education, less has been done to recognise the sociocultural mathematics backgrounds of students. An example is provided to show how entrenched colonial attitudes to mathematics have developed into neocolonial policies that influence mathematics education. This example is based on a large historic research project in Papua New Guinea (PNG) that aimed to document and analyse the nature of mathematics education from tens of thousands of years ago to the present. Data sources varied from records of first contact and later records, archaeology, oral histories, language analyses, lived experiences, memoirs, government documents, field studies, and previous research especially doctoral studies. The impacts of colonisation, post-colonial aid and globalisation on mathematics education have been analysed, establishing an understanding of the current status of mathematics education as neocolonial. Neocolonial education policies diminish cultural ways of thinking. Thus, teacher education has an important role in sensitizing preservice and inservice teachers to the impact of neocolonial approaches as well as in developing with students some ways of reducing this impact and encouraging more holistic, culturally relevant mathematics education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Perspectives on Mathematics Teacher Education)
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27 pages, 1324 KiB  
Article
Exploring the Interplay between Conceptualizing and Realizing Inquiry—The Case of One Mathematics Teacher’s Trajectory
by Marte Bråtalien, Margrethe Naalsund and Elisabeta Eriksen
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(8), 843; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13080843 - 18 Aug 2023
Viewed by 2208
Abstract
Inquiry, an approach that departs from traditional mathematics teaching, empowers students through active participation and increased accountability in exploration, argumentation, evaluation, and communication of mathematical ideas. There is broad research consensus on the benefits of inquiry-based approaches to teaching and learning mathematics, including [...] Read more.
Inquiry, an approach that departs from traditional mathematics teaching, empowers students through active participation and increased accountability in exploration, argumentation, evaluation, and communication of mathematical ideas. There is broad research consensus on the benefits of inquiry-based approaches to teaching and learning mathematics, including their potential to support equitable mathematics classrooms. While research has separately explored teachers’ conceptions of inquiry and their efforts to enact the practice, little is known about the interplay between mathematics teachers’ conceptions and enactment, and how it could be harnessed in professional development. In this study, we follow Alex, an experienced upper secondary mathematics teacher unfamiliar with inquiry, as he participates in a one-semester professional development course that draws on inquiry in multiple ways. His trajectory towards learning to teach through inquiry is revealed through patterns and shifts in his reflections and classroom actions. Our findings reveal significant developments in Alex’s conception of inquiry and in how he realizes it in his classroom, identifying three paths that illuminate his inquiry trajectory: the teacher’s role in inquiry interactions, a growing idea of inquiry, and orchestrating whole-class situations. In the interplay between enacting and reflecting, he moves from distributing authority separately between himself and ‘the students’ (as one unit) to fostering shared authority, a key aspect of empowerment, between himself and his students (as multiple voices) in both groupwork and whole-class episodes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Perspectives on Mathematics Teacher Education)
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20 pages, 309 KiB  
Article
Storylines in Voices of Frustration: Implications for Mathematics Teacher Education in Changing Times
by Annica Andersson, Trine Foyn, Anita Movik Simensen and David Wagner
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(8), 816; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13080816 - 9 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1473
Abstract
We have interviewed becoming mathematics teachers, in the last semester of their education, asking how they experience their time as teacher students with the focus on inclusive teaching. In their forthcoming daily work, they will be responsible for arranging for inclusive teaching that [...] Read more.
We have interviewed becoming mathematics teachers, in the last semester of their education, asking how they experience their time as teacher students with the focus on inclusive teaching. In their forthcoming daily work, they will be responsible for arranging for inclusive teaching that addresses all the learners’ needs in mathematics. We believe the voices of future teachers are important to include in conversations about how programs prepare future mathematics teachers for the work of teaching in today’s schools and classrooms. We used storylines as a theoretical construct to discuss the socio-political aspects of mathematics teacher education through the lens of two research questions: What storylines emerged in interviews with becoming mathematics teachers in their last semester of teacher education when they talked about teaching in diverse classrooms? What implications might these storylines have on mathematics teacher education? Our analysis made us aware of three important storylines: (1) storylines about the importance of language in mathematics education; (2) storylines about the importance of accepting diverse methods when doing mathematics; and (3) storylines about issues of invisibility at play in mathematics classrooms. In this paper, we discuss the importance of creating space for discussions in teacher education about issues that may challenge inclusive practices in mathematics classrooms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Perspectives on Mathematics Teacher Education)
21 pages, 2142 KiB  
Article
Integrating Societal Issues with Mathematical Modelling in Pre-Service Teacher Education
by Lisa Steffensen and Georgia Kasari
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(7), 721; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13070721 - 14 Jul 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2045
Abstract
The complex societal phenomena occurring in our daily lives and the ongoing curricula demands of mathematics education imply the responsibility of teachers to discuss societal issues with their students in mathematics classrooms. Yet, the ways in which teachers respond to these demands are [...] Read more.
The complex societal phenomena occurring in our daily lives and the ongoing curricula demands of mathematics education imply the responsibility of teachers to discuss societal issues with their students in mathematics classrooms. Yet, the ways in which teachers respond to these demands are neither given nor straightforward. In this case study, we aim to understand how pre-service teachers are introduced to addressing societal issues during mathematical modelling activities through the examples utilised by a teacher educator. Theoretical perspectives from socio-critical modelling are used to investigate examples from a mathematics teacher education course where socio-critical perspectives of modelling activities were addressed. We found that the teacher educator included multiple activities with contexts relevant to pre-service teachers, such as littering, body images, and oil spills, and focused on problem posing. Also, the complexity of socio-critical modelling activities was illustrated by bringing various perspectives and alternatives, and a need for commitment to action and assuming responsibility was discussed. Our findings conclude that mathematical modelling can be one way of incorporating socio-critical issues in teacher education to prepare pre-service teachers to be, and become, critical and responsible citizens, yet, doing so requires the engagement of a community of teacher educators. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Perspectives on Mathematics Teacher Education)
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