Mathematics education research has acknowledged the role of culture in teaching and learning, and specifically how mathematics classrooms create a context that legitimizes or invalidates various forms of knowledge. Mathematics teacher educators (MTEs) have a responsibility to expose prospective teachers (PSTs) to the different ways students’ reason about and learn mathematics and teach them how to build on students’ mathematical and cultural backgrounds. This preparation must help PSTs recognize their own cultural socialization and understand how this affects their attitudes and behaviors toward other ethnic group cultures in mathematics education. In this session, I present preliminary findings from CAM Up! (Cultural Awareness in Mathematics Unit Project), a cross-site research study that seeks to illuminate PSTs’ interests, perspectives, and dispositions toward teaching mathematics to culturally diverse student populations. I will share PSTs’ views on culture in mathematics education, with particular attention to their deficit perspectives/stereotypes about students and their families. I argue that MTEs must help PSTs acknowledge and challenge these views while they are in teacher preparation programs. Only then will we develop PSTs’ cultural consciousness, enabling them to build safe cultural spaces for students to learn mathematics.
Keywords: Culture, teacher education, equity, dispositions
Dorothy Y. White is a professor of mathematics education at the University of Georgia. She teaches undergraduate teacher preparation courses in early childhood and middle school mathematics education and graduate courses in critical issues and national trends in STEM education. Her research centers on: access, equity, and culture in mathematics education; teachers’ professional learning communities; and the professional development of mathematics teachers and educators. She holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction – Mathematics Education from the University of Maryland-College Park, an M.A. in Mathematics Education from Teachers College–Columbia University, and a B.S. in Mathematics from Morgan State University