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Advancing the Learning of Algebra for ALL: Case Studies of Teachers’ Efforts Toward Equitable Math Teaching

By Ruth Urbina-Lilback


Myriad indicators suggest that preparation and access to mathematics coursework is not the same for all. Teachers, central in facilitating equitable math learning experiences (NCTM, 2014), require preparation to support this critical educational need. While principles from research on equitable teaching provide a beginning knowledge base, this knowledge base is incomplete. Teachers must also know how to adapt this knowledge base into their practice, requiring descriptive, “well-documented events” (Shulman, 1986) that can be used for preparation in equitable teaching. This qualitative study provided an in-depth, close-up examination of practices of four algebra teachers identified as having stances aligned with equitable teaching practices. The goal was to uncover how teachers used what they know about their students to meet their students’ particular learning needs – considering both cognitive and sociocultural perspectives to frame what teachers “knew” about their students. The study employed ethnographic and case study methods within a situated practice framework. All teachers worked in classrooms with high representation of underserved students. Within-case and cross-case syntheses uncovered central learning phenomena and produced analytical explanatory models for teachers’ efforts to advance their students’ learning. The findings demonstrated that each teacher used particular sets of forms of knowledge of the student (mathematical and nonmathematical) in situated ways. Further, teachers’ uses of their knowledge of the student were described, along with the teachers’ perceptions of their use, their teaching goals and what their students learned. Teachers highly prized students’ mathematical thinking and worked to develop long-term skills that empowered students to succeed in school

Publisher: OpenCommons@UConn
Year: 2018
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