ERIC Number: ED495025
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Jun-7
Prescriptions for Rural Mathematics Instruction: Analysis of the Rhetorical Literature. Working Paper No. 22
Huber, Donna S.; Howley, Aimee A.; Howley, Craig B.
Appalachian Collaborative Center for Learning, Assessment, and Instruction in Mathematics (ACCLAIM)
Very little empirical research has examined mathematics education in rural schools and communities. A modest non-research literature, however, does exist, and this study analyzed it and found three themes describing the prescriptions given to rural mathematics educators: (1) mathematics education in rural schools needs to be fixed; (2) good things happen in some rural schools; and (3) fixing mathematics instruction requires certain practices. These practices include providing challenging curriculum, undertaking professional development efforts, making use of distance-learning options, and engaging local support. The non-research literature only rarely tied its prescriptions to any relevant empirical research (either general or rurally focused). Reports of improvement projects based in rural schools tended to recommend their own practices uncritically and with little or no warrant. Among these works, for instance, the magazine articles reached the widest audience, and among them, 70% cited not a single reference, let alone a reference to the empirical literature. In general, the prescriptions given loosely reflect conventional wisdom in their support of the NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics) standards and the exigencies of the various state-level accountability schemes. Some attention is paid in this literature to the concept of place-based pedagogy, usually articulated to support national and state goals and individual achievement rather than local knowledge and purposes. Alternatives to the conventional wisdom are neither examined nor argued in this literature, thereby ignoring the arguable rights of rural communities to define their own educational purposes. We conclude that a strong need for a critical literature of mathematics education exists. Issues surrounding the rural lifeworld, especially in the context of globalization, would have much to contribute toward the development of such a literature. (Contains 5 footnotes.) [A previous version of this paper was presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Diego, CA, April 2004.]
Descriptors: Mathematics Instruction, Mathematics Teachers, Rural Education, Indigenous Knowledge, Educational Research, Rural Schools, Mathematics Education, Faculty Development, Curriculum Development, Mathematics Curriculum, Distance Education, School Community Relationship, Educational Improvement
Appalachian Collaborative Center for Learning, Assessment, and Instruction in Mathematics (ACCLAIM). Research Initiative, McCracken Hall, College of Education, Ohio University, Athens, OH 45710. Tel: 740-593-9869; Web site: http://www.acclaim-math.org/clearinghouse.aspx
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA.
Authoring Institution: Ohio Univ., Athens. Appalachian Collaborative Center for Learning, Assessment, and Instruction in Mathematics.