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ERIC Number: ED555342
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 187
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: 978-1-3034-3516-4
A Case Study of Two Teachers Attempting to Create Active Mathematics Discourse Communities with Latinos
Willey, Craig Joseph
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Illinois at Chicago
This is a qualitative study of two English-dominant mathematics teachers, who I refer to as "monolingual" because they speak only English and do not speak competently or extensively the cultural language of their students. This study explores how these teachers plan, implement, and reflect upon lessons with respect to their bilingual, urban Latina/o students. Ethnographic methods--such as participant observation in classroom activities, formal and informal interviews, regular dialogue, and analysis of artifacts--were used to understand the meaning the teachers attribute to their teaching practices. Given Latina/o students' unique strengths and needs, this study aims to garner a better sense of how these teachers develop mathematics learning communities--specifically, Mathematics discourse Communities (MdC's)--that emphasize opportunities for students to talk mathematically and work together, in an effort to help shape meaningful mathematical experiences. The need for this study is predicated on the fact that the majority of teachers are White and monolingual, thus precluding them from experiential knowledge of what it means to be Latina/o in school, learn a second language, and develop complex mathematical understandings in a second language. Therefore, a closer examination is warranted of how teachers attempt to create MdC's that underscore mathematics discourse as an integral component to mathematical development. This study produced three primary findings: 1) There are tensions around the teachers' efforts to take up and interrogate the concept of MdC's. Planning sessions rarely take into consideration the unique strengths and needs of emerging bilingual students, yet, at the same time, this planning is driven by particular ideologies about Latinas/os and mathematics learning. Furthermore, a lack of a conceptual framework emphasizing inclusion lead to teacher difficulties including Latina/o students in mathematical discourses and helping them access the mathematical concepts at hand--especially those students who are developing proficiency in English. 2) There is confusion as to what constitutes mathematics discourse and its role in developing mathematical understanding, and how to create discursive structures to support students' development of mathematics discourse. Teachers view mathematics discourse as the repetitive use and overt emphasis of key, technical words commonly associated with mathematics, and incorporated mathematical writing in limited ways. 3) The teachers maintain distinct language ideologies and perceptions of Latina/o learners that tacitly influence their design and implementation of MdC's. This leads to uncertainty about what is within or outside of their responsibilities as mathematics teachers of Latina/o students, including supporting students as they take on the additional task of learning English, and specifically, mathematical discourse. The findings lead to additional questions: How are teachers socialized to think about, build upon the strengths of, and address the needs of Latinas/os? What is it about the two teachers' histories and professional training that leaves them ill-prepared--socially, academically, and otherwise--to directly interact with newcomers, innovate ways to capitalize on students' native language, and intentionally plan for mathematics discourse development? A sociopolitical analysis of this phenomenon is certainly in order. This kind of examination requires us to look carefully at Latina/o learners' mathematical identity formation over time in relation to the normative ways of doing mathematics they have experienced. In other words, we need to continue to develop the theoretical and analytical construct of Mathematics discourse Communities to allow us to account for micro-interactions between teacher and students in light of the sociocultural histories of the teachers, as well as the sociopolitical context within which they teach. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A